Sleeves Off




Sometimes the simplest things like mixing up stripes, or taking the sleeves off a leather jacket are all it takes for a designer to launch a collection. That was the case with Junya Watanabe, Haider Ackermann, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons and Jean Paul Gaultier on Saturday in Paris.
For Junya Watanabe it was stripes, the ones found in ladies’ bathing costumes circa 1890. Back in those days a swimsuit included nothing less than a long jacket over bloomers and a perky bonnet.  Junya’s stripes swirled in every direction as he riffied in an Op Art way on the Edwardian beach uniform. But then, Junya being Junya, he threw in a few antiques like a sailor collar jacket and retro nautical scarf print.  This meeting of great, great grandma with modern optics created an intriguing time warp.  
Haider Ackermann continues to cut away and twist leather tailoring which he mixes with breathtakingly liquid silk satins. This time he began with a leather trench coat with the sleeves cut off which he twisted around the body like a climbing vine. Then he took a biker’s jacket, cut off the sleeves, and turned it into a soft jumpsuit.  At one point he tucked a red satin evening dress into a pair of dark, slouchy trousers for a woman who is as tough as she is tender.




Rei Kawakubo found the disjointed angle she craves for Comme des Garçons by combining two jackets in one for a two-sided mix of textures and lengths. Eventually she stuck an extra pair of black sleeves onto white coats, which looked like an abstract pair of wings.  And then she hit her stride: turning jackets and coats  upside down for a perfectly beautiful thrown together jumble.  
Jean Paul Gaultier was not the only designer this season to weigh in on punk, but instead of Anarchy in the U.K., he took his cue from Joan Jett and Hollywood Boulevard circa 1979. Gaultier loves trash and the L.A. punk scene inspired him. Joan’s mullet was on every model’s head, but then he made it modern with Beth Ditto who nearly stole the show with her voice. 3-D kaleidoscopic prints (you need glasses to see them), red patent Doc Martens slit up the back and laced like sandals, and the period’s trashy cropped biker jackets with short shorts shirred like a pair of bloomers were standouts.