Walking diagonally across the floor of a nineteenth-century Parisian dancehall, Rei Kawakubo's candy-floss topped girls mimicked the soundtrack, alternating between a fast and slow pace. Opportune time for her audience to fully digest each of the unique thirty-eight looks. The designer's preoccupations for the Spring/Summer season quickly became apparent: patchwork (skewed panels incorporating a cacophony of fabrics) and leather accessories (specifically a shoulder-brace and a wide belt that sits around the hips). On closer inspection, it transpired the strange and remarkable patchwork constructions were made from random pattern pieces positioned in the wrong place, with shoulder panels used to make the side of a skirt. This approach, taking garments apart and putting them back together, is a favourite of Kawakubo's. Here, the patchworks seemed to incorporate fabrics similar to those from past collections - grey pinstripe, metallic brocades, velvet, polka dot, sequins, soft knits and military cottons. The patchwork idea was worked through the entire collection in long skirts, short dresses worn with thick black tights, collared capes worn with black tailored trousers, worked into blazers worn with transparent tops and cycling shorts. Surely Kawakubo will be the only designer to offer this style of short this season. The leather pieces appeared less frequently (at just the right points) but made an equally strong impression, particularly the studded and stitched black leather shoulder brace. A clever way of drawing attention to this part of the body, this seemed to be Kawakubo's way of making reference to other designers' ongoing fascination with the shoulder-area over recent seasons. Serving as the perfect foil for the soft feminine fabrics, these pieces will also work as an iconic (and unconventional) accessory for the brand this season. Perfect for those die-hard fans. Kawakubo changed pace at look seventeen, using a lighter palette - white patchwork designs worn with toile-like pleated skirts with unfinished hems were followed by reworkings of the classic trench coat in flesh-coloured tulle and clean, white cotton dresses with a frill hem and rounded collar were saved from overt femininity by accompanying leather pieces. The show closed with a section dedicated to polka-dot -one of the brand's trademarks- with bright patchwork dresses and a skirt with a long velvet train.
A clever way of drawing attention to this part of the body, this seemed to be Kawakubo's way of making reference to other designers' ongoing fascination with the shoulder-area over recent seasons.