Comme des Garçons Shirt Men’s Spring 2023 Collection
Rei Kawakubo said if she could invent one item of clothing, it would be the white shirt. “It’s a fundamental part of a man’s wardrobe,” her husband, translator and company CEO Adrian Joffe said on her behalf. “The shirt, the jacket and the pants are the fundamental base.”
There’s an irony in the fact that Comme des Garçons operates a menswear brand called Shirt, dedicated to finding myriad ways to deconstruct a shirt. It’s possible that Rei Kawakubo really has thought of everything already. There’s also a bit of irony in the fact that, while everyone is engrossed in the sweatpants versus suits debate — years after the pandemic began, a dull, binary way of thinking — Kawakubo is happily producing shirts in Tokyo. The button is a mediocre and forgettable garment if there ever was one, and yet, in its hands, it’s more compelling than most we’ve seen this year. Kawakubo always tends to have the last word.
This season, black and white dimensional variations are worth taking to an art fair so people can think about a shirt-sculpture. And in case there was any doubt about the optimistic and independent spirit of the offer… Wait, wait, wait: does this all sound a little familiar? Like maybe you have already read it? OK, I admit it: just as CDG Shirt remixes the button-down shirt every season, I thought I’d try the same with our brand’s Vogue Runway reviews, creating my own tribute collage to Kawakubo and its ever-evolving ingenuity. Because sitting down at a CDG Shirt show, my first in person, is having an experience you may have had before: the fast start time, the white room, the dozens of guests dressed in CDG clapping and nodding with every look. And the looks, they’re surely familiar: ruffle-edged coats and shorts, oversized children’s jumpsuits, a strawberry graphic borrowed from DSM Paris-backed artist-turned-designer Brett Westfall.
There are of course new ideas, like Asics sneakers instead of the usual Nikes, and oversized jumpsuits for a playful egg shape. Gingham shirts and crisp ties will bring the CDG Shirt customer back to normal; tailcoats and ruffled, crinkled shorts ensure it feels extra special and weirder with every wear. But overall, the effect is one of strange cohesion, repetition and certainty. Novelty isn’t everything; The CDG shirt does the job nicely.