How comme Des Garçons became a girl’s brand unwanted

Fashion’s most famous collector of the Comme des Garçons is Cologne-based street star Michel Elie, who has up to 70 archival looks that have been given their own room at the top of her house. Vogue‘s Lynn Yaeger is a longtime fan, famous for rocking fashion shows with the brand’s multi-layered pieces, like ruffled petticoats and smocks and a coconut coat of Milli-Fuel mash. But in recent months, it’s become clear that there’s a new collection of viral Insta-girls in town whose aesthetic is more extroverted than avant-garde, trendsetting rather than agenda-shattering.

Fast Forward Kylie Jenner – Wearing a beautiful two-piece from Comme des Garçons’ Fall/Winter 2007 collection in August 2022, followed by Iris Law in a similar collection from the One of a Kind archive to the Fashion Awards. Afterward, Law wrote on Instagram, “I’ve been dreaming of wearing this look from a collection I’ve admired for years. But Jenner lifted her collection, cutting the collection’s drop-hem lycra leggings into miniskirts, like the ’90s Jean Paul Gaultier, Mugler and Versace pieces she’s also in love with.

Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2007 collection, the darling of Instagram.

Kylie Jenner is in action at Comme des Garçons in August 2022.

Iris Law at the 2022 British Fashion Awards.

Karway Tang

“We were selling four or five glove dresses from Kylie’s look — people were even willing to buy them in a weird color,” says Gil Linton, founder of Byronsk, a personal shopping app and e-commerce platform that connects die-hard vintage brands with sellers and collectors around the world. With “modern vintage” — meaning pieces from the ’80s — Linton curates museum-quality Comme des Garcon specials, including rugged and padded runway looks from “lumps and bumps.” “They’re the main influencers that drive interest,” Linton explains, “cross-culturally” between ultra-popular and avant-garde (see Kim Kardashian teaming up with Michelle Lamy wearing Rick Owens).

Bella Hadid also couldn’t get Comme des Garçons. Along with high street brands such as Miss Sixty, Ed Hardy and Jane Norman, Hadid has been stocking the Japanese label’s wearable designs on a daily basis. These include an optical floral print midi dress, a split leather-fringed shirt, a faded gingham skirt and a concept belt, which she has incorporated into her hip-girl wardrobe.

A pinstripe creation that stood out on the Comme des Garçons Spring/Summer 1993 runway.

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Comme des Garçons Spring/Summer 1997, the seminal “lumps and bumps” collection.

Comme des Garçons’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection.

In London, Lara Saville and Ty Williams, the duo behind Portobello Market stall West Archive, specialize in investment vintage pieces from the 90s and early 00s. They source 80 percent of their stock from Japan, including Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe and Issey Miyake. “We love Comme des Garçons’ distressed, asymmetrical and torn pieces,” says Saville. Williams name-checks pieces from the brand’s Fall/Winter 1998 and Spring/Summer 2005 offerings. Watanabe’s Spring/Summer 2002 and Fall/Winter 2006 collections also call for distressed denim pieces and punk utility shapes. Bella Hadid herself owns a pair of ripped jeans from the previous label. “These pieces from vintage Prada are bold enough to wear,” says Saville.

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