• Text Tempe Nakiska
  • 28th June 2014

Peaceful retreat

What would it be like to spend a day in the brain of Rei Kawakubo? That’s surely what the majority of yesterday’s audience was left wondering – though of course this cannot be a new item of ponder.

Regardless, it was a distinct look of horror that confronted us yesterday, nothing if not totally transfixing. Take the footwear, for example: boots, standard from first glance, until you realised it was as if their toes had been stretched in an upwards curl beyond the knee. Trace back to the 14th century when a fashion persisted for a century or so that involved a style of shoe called the krakow, extending so far beyond the toe that a string would sometimes be necessary to keep it out of the way. Key fact? French soldiers sawed off the toe (called the poulaine) in 1396’s Battle of Nicopolis in order to more efficiently stage a retreat. 

Tailoring felt part safari, part militaristic, double breasted gold buttons partnered with slogans bearing the words ‘Soldier of Peace’ and ‘Peace, Love, Empathy’. And when suddenly this series of looks was thrust into nothingness but for spotlights on the grouping boys, it was all thrown into relief.

This wasn’t about darkness but light, optimism for a future that sees less violence than it is riddled with today. If only more designers would take a leaf out of Kawakubo’s book. We may yet stand a chance.