PRINT December 1995

David Colman


A photo taken in 1958 shows Joan Crawford holding the definitive status symbol of that year of years: A SMALL AIRLINE BAG emblazoned with the Sabena logo, which despite its cheapness conjured all the glamour associated with jet travel, but which 20-odd years later was about as glamorous as the worn polyester seats of a 747. But the airline bag, the sturdiness of its nylon reminiscent of a Prada knapsack, was born again this year at the hands of Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo. At first glance, the resurrection suggests the ’60s references seen in so many designers’ collections; however, Kawakubo, unconcerned with that decade’s overall esthetic, indexed the bag’s entire ascent and decline, from the smartest jet-setting shoulders to the dustiest Salvation Army floors, creating an object both of fashion and out of fashion. At a confusing moment when items that were not only out

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