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PARIS, January 28, 2006 - At Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo chose La Cigalle, a smoky theater on a seedy strip of Boulevard de Clichy in Pigalle, as the setting for her Saturday afternoon show. A raspy voice on the soundtrack croaked out "life is sweet at the end of a knife" - a perfect accompaniment for an edgy, urban collection notable as much for the accessories (western style string ties secured with a variety of jeweled brooches, black plumed stetsons that resembled a well-groomed head of hair, white paten leather shoes with black wing tips), as for the clothes.

Longhaired models with hair extensions sauntered slowly down the runway sporting baggy pinstripe suits and redingotes spiced up with a zigzag motif black felt appliqué. One of them practically lifted his festooned jacket in the face of Michael Roberts, illustrator for the New Yorker.

You have to wonder exactly what theme was being expressed in the ornamental turquoise and maroon brocades that streaked down the back of jackets and the side of pants legs, or in the sparkling fringe evening jackets that peeled back to reveal a collection of T-shirts painted with fingers, barbed wire and chain links.

Whatever. It's easier to enjoy the show than to figure out the meaning of it all

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