Peter Pan Collar, Flat Shoes and Low-Gusset Trousers by Comme des Garçons
Whatever the theme of Rei Kawakubo’s collections for Comme des Garçons, there are three components that are almost always present in her womenswear lines: the Peter Pan Collar [Fig. 5], the flat shoes [Fig. 6] and the low-gusset trousers [Fig. 7]. The foremost, is a small, flat, rounded collar without a stand and is one of the few overtly feminine details utilised by Kawakubo. The Comme des Garçons low-gusset trouser derives from the design of ‘Sarouel’ trousers, which have a drop crutch gathered inset between the legs and previously formed part of the uniform of the Algerian Zouave Regiment. Junya Watanabe, a protégé of Rei Kawakubo, who also works under the Comme des Garçons umbrella, also included a similar design in his Autumn/Winter 2007-8 collection. Kawakubo also favours flat shoes, particularly men’s brogues, although these are never strictly conventional in their design: often employing an unconventional colour palette, the shoes are elongated and curl up at the toes, reminiscent of the footwear worn by clowns.
Red-Soled Shoes by Christian Louboutin
A pair of Christian Louboutin shoes is easily identifiable by their red-coloured soles [Fig.8]. Louboutin was originally inspired by an assistant who painted her nails red; he felt his shoes lacked a certain something and decided to use her red varnish on the soles of his designs. Red-soled shoes were first worn in the 17th century by King Louis XIV, which were thought to draw attention to his shapely calves and legs. Such was their popularity that he dictated that red-soled shoes could only be worn by members of his court, a privilege for the elite aristocracy. Used by Louboutin since 1992, this design aspect was trademarked in January 2008. Louboutin told the United States Patent and Trademark Office, “The shiny red colour of the soles has no function other than to identify to the public that the shoes are mine. It attracts men to the women who wear my shoes”.
Chains, Quilting and Jacket by Chanel
The most obvious, and also the most copied trademarks come courtesy of Chanel – so distinctive that the editors at Vogue in the 1960s dubbed them, “Chanelisms”. The iconic Chanel jacket [Fig.11] is a collarless, boxy jacket, traditionally made of woven wool; its neckline, front edge, cuffs, pockets and hem have a braided trim and it has gold buttons bearing the double ‘CC’ logo. This garment is widely regarded as a fashion ‘classic’ and the design is a trademark owned by Chanel. The Chanel chain [Fig. 9] first appeared on the bottom of the Chanel suit jackets as a trimming used to weigh the garment down. Chanel is also known for its quilted fabric [Fig. 10], which is used for clothing and accessories alike and was originally inspired by the quilting on jackets worn by jockeys. In February 1955, Chanel introduced the quilted bag with a chain shoulder strap, named the 2.55 bag after the month and year of its creation. ISSUE 1 — 89
A Graphic and Textual Exploration of the Fashion World