All Hail Comme Des Garçons, Baggy Pants OGs

06 November 2019
Style, Comme des Garcons, Baggy Pants
Images: Getty Images
Since the 1980s, designer Rei Kawakubo has been making radical garments for men that have experimented with size and proportion

The common thread between collections these days is skinny fits are out, and a slouchy look is the fit to wear. Just ask Virgil Abloh or Justin Bieber. New and cult-loved designers like San Francisco-based Evan Kinori and Amsterdam’s Camiel Fortgens have built their brands on a dedication to big, oversized fits, and even the meteoric rise of the humble and roomy work pant can’t be ignored. And when it comes to baggy pants with an extremely fashionable edge, there is one label that stands a cut above the rest: Comme des Garçons.

See Also: Big Mood: Large and Baggy Is Now Fashion’s Dominant Silhouette

The Japanese label, founded in 1973 by one-of-one designer Rei Kawakubo, is revered for its audacious fashion: drapey and dark and instantly recognizable. It wasn’t until the late-1970s that Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons introduced menswear via its "Homme" sub-label. Since inception, the collections have included off-kilter blazers, broad-shouldered bomber jackets, asymmetrical button-up shirts, slouchy sweaters—and big, flowing trousers. “You think I’m not normal because you’re looking at the clothes,” Kawakubo told The New Yorker in a rare 2005 profile. “But I am. Can’t rational people create mad work?” The quote speaks truth to the artful tension that lies at the heart of Kawakubo’s handiwork: logical design that feels deliberately offbeat, clothing that’s both effortlessly beautiful and bizarre at once.

Comme des Garçons Homme Plus was introduced in 1984, an extension of the men’s sub-label that tends to feature even more eccentric and oversized fits. In runway collections from the 1980s and 1990s, the wide-legged and highly cropped pant was a hallmark of nearly every show. Whether it was paired with some magical-looking jacket or a more subdued sweater, the big pant was here to stay as one of the brand's go-to staples. In years to come, the silhouette never faltered; sometimes it would be dressed up in wild patterns or bold stripes, and other times it would be in hushed shades of black, navy, or grey. Either way, the baggy pant became a beloved icon that was synonymous with the forward-thinking label.

In 1989, for Comme des Garçons’ in-house magazine, a group of actors was styled in pieces from that year's collection, including many pairs of billowing trousers. The late designer Alexander McQueen walked in the brand’s autumn/winter 1997 runway show in pants that feels spot-on for today’s times: loudly patterned and precisely oversized. When Junya Watanabe, reconstructist designer and Kawakubo's protege, was photographed for T Magazine in 2016, he wore a pair of simple black pants with that iconic Comme des Garçons fit: loose and drapey. (This isn't to say that the brand's output has been all loose-fitting; the label has played with plenty shrunken proportions over the years.)

Even today, baggy pants are a staple of the brand’s latest offerings. There are wide-leg wool trousers with silky satin trim, multi-paneled pants made of leopard jacquard knit, and shiny black twill trousers with deliberately large front cuffs. Each silhouette is classically Comme des Garçons, somewhere between too-big and just-big-enough so that it feels style-forward and exciting to wear but not so overly avante-garde that it seems unreachable. (Well, almost all of the styles.)

Years of skinny jeans with names like Petit Standard as the de-facto option for pants have made looser fits feel somewhat daunting. It’s a refreshing change to see the baggy silhouette be embraced by both designers and wearers alike. (Go get yourself some relaxed-fit painters pants while you’re at it.) Everyone wants to find the trousers that best suit your wardrobe, but if you are curious about the baggy pant—and there isn't a better place to start than Comme.


Via GQ