Rei Kawakubo is known for her coded, charged explanations. Therefore a Comme des Garçons show is always a highlight of fashion week, be it men's or women's, because you're not looking at nice clothes parading down a nice catwalk going 'that's nice' – you're bringing your mind to a stimulus. Don't forget your decoder.
"Poor King" are Kawakubo's words this season. A large structure covered the venue's floor, as models did their best not to trip over metal pipes every few steps, what was literally a game of thrones. There you go, instant denouement: this was the melancholy of the monarch, who for all their trappings (incredible jewellery, palaces swathed with objects from the pinnacle of art history) is a hostage in gilded prison, dictated by duty and obligation. Talk abdication and you inevitably lead to another extreme, the drop-out hedonism of a Withnail & I existence.
The collection felt like a palimpsest relating to A/W11's "decadence" Homme Plus collection, with its aged gold, silks and reworked t-shirts. For S/S13, however, there was nothing aged about this metal: it shone brighter than ever to remind that what's going on on the surface isn't necessarily what's going on in the head.
It was appropriate that Black Sabbath's Iron Man was the soundtrack – to do his duty, that's the very creature a king must be. Smile nicely as the proletariat adore or despise.