On a previous post I discussed the impact that three Japanese designers had on the industry throughout the 1980's. Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto & Rei Kawakubo are such innovative artists, which led me to explore their works further. Recently I focused on Rei Kawakubo' brand Comme des Garcon & the s/s 13 collection.
True to the brand Comme' ready to wear this season has great elements of surrealism & eccentricity. Most of the collection was monochrome or varied between white & beige hues. What I found most exciting about these garments was the deconstruction & outlandish structures seen on the runway. Skirts & dresses appeared with sleeves & trouser legs gracefully draped across the front & sides. It was as though each outfit was created from left over designs, forming a wonderful high end "recycled" collection.
I decided to direct a photoshoot illustrating my own perception of this collection. As it would be impossible to find clothes remotely similar I attempted to make something myself, although I can't sew whatsoever. In uni I went to the fashion design studios and asked the students if they had any practice designs on calico fabric that they no longer needed. Luckily I received an assortment of sleeves, jackets & sheets of fabric. I then used pins & safety pins to keep it all together.
As stated in my previous post about Comme des Garcon one of their aesthetics is the Japanese concept of beauty which is the idea of less is more. With this in mind I thought of ideas for hair & make up. With inspiration from Corrine Days shoots with Kate Moss in the 90's I decided to go for an extremely natural look for the face. However on the runway the models this season had abstract white paint on their faces, I showed this to my make up artist & advised her to do something similar with her own style combined. After seeing an oriental spread in i-D magazine I suggested that the models hair be greased back with tiny strands brought to the front. Although after trying this it didn't look quite right which encouraged us to slick the whole thing back off the models face.
When on the Comme des Garcon website I noticed there was some amazing manga art by Otomo Katsuhiro. To portray these photos as a potential campaign for the brand I used some of Katsuhiro' manga art in my final images.
Overall I learned a substantial amount about the brand, trying to stick to their aesthetic, advertising & quite a lot about manga through research. Generally when I style/photograph a fashion shoot I choose garments etc and build up my own concept & back story, with this shoot it was more challenging as I had to emulate a well known brand. Throughout shooting I continuously changed my mind on how I wanted it to look, this indecisiveness continued up until I edited my last photo. Perhaps it's because I was aware how difficult it would be to imitate Comme des Garcon better than the brand itself.
Styling/photography: Ebun Black
MUA: Lucy Hurry
Model: Romy Valentina