There’s a “trend” this season—if it can be called such a thing—where the most fearless designers are looking at what seem to be the certainties of an early 20th-century avant-garde past. Or should that be the uncertainties of the avant-garde past? In some ways, the collections in question have more in common with the art movements and values of 1914 than with 2014—and we all know what happened in 1914.
It sounds equally glib and facile to say that Rei Kawakubo started this “trend.” Maybe what Kawakubo actually did was engage her instincts and growing unease at what was happening in the world—and was plain for all to feel—and articulate it quicker than most. In her extremely challenging collections of the last few seasons, she took that leap of faith and asked her audience to do so, too.