Season Coverage

Tapestry can be defined simply as a large, heavy woven fabric used as decoration for walls or floors. Rich with intricacy and regarded as "the best French decorative art has to offer", Gobelin tapestry was primarily supplied to French royalty during the 17th century. These handwoven products get their name from the family of cloth makers and dyers credited with creating today the Gobelin Tapestry Factory in Paris, France. A figure worth noting is Jehan Gobelin (1410-1476), whose discovery of a scarlet dye and desire for its promotion prompted the foundation of a legacy.

This legacy, continuing from the mid-1600s and well into the 21st century, was defined initially as a collaboration of commissioned French designers, whose depiction of animals (Jean-Baptiste Oudry) and Rococo style paintings (Francois Boucher) contributed to a larger whole; the grandeur of Gobelin tapestry. However, with time's progression came a transformation into a more familiar, modern image; abstract art and surrealism dominate the construction of design and imagery.

The shift towards modernism was intriguing to Kawakubo, as it is apparent in her Spring/Summer 2000 Comme des Garçons Homme Plus collection's title, "Gobelin," and the designs presented on the runway. This collection's unique designs share a common theme of patched Gobelin tapestry throughout, muddled with floral motifs and reconstructed with exposed, asymmetrical stitching. Rigid lapels rest upon the collarbone in a lush hue of yellow, soft blue with white roses, or a greyscale of intricate leaves. The position and cut of each patch, material composition of the tapestry, and lastly the design on each patch, all rely on the type of item and simply the item itself. After examining multiple "identical" jackets from the multiple collections, it becomes clear how such subtle detail can translate to such substantial differences in the eye of the beholder. Attention was not devoted entirely upon how the garment fits upon the wearer and how the garment will endure her design process and the test of time.

Written by Justin Donnelly


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