PARIS, France — There is a new Japanese designer on the stage in Paris. His name is Kei Ninomiya, his brand is named Noir and he is part of the Comme des Garçons family. The label has actually been staging intimate presentations for a few seasons in the Comme des Garçons showroom. This, however, was the first public outing. It felt very Comme, from the stark set to the abrupt finale, not to mention the models faces concealed behind beautiful flower masks. The profusion of black was also quintessentially Comme.
Ninomiya's specialty is the way he deals with repetition, creating challenging structures by obsessively multiplying small modules. His crafty aesthetic is a mix of delicate and punk. Today the modules were flowers or petals, while the black synthetic fabrications had a tough touch.
The designer believes contrasts makes for powerful results. Was this debut powerful? In part. The problem was: everything was too predictably Comme, in the Kawakubo kind of way: perfectos and big skirts with mannish lace ups, bulbous coats and dramatic sleeves. In order to make a statement Ninomiya needs to get out of this comfort zone.