Few can cut a bubble, a pouf, a complete and perfect sphere like Rei Kawakubo. Her Comme des Garçons collections, as a whole, are a big endorsement of orb dressing—a rejection of sleeves and armholes and trousers in favor of cocooning one’s body in a perfect little bulb. And CDG’s spring 2021 collection didn’t disappoint as far as bulbous ensembles go: Plastic-covered and in cartoony shapes and prints, Kawakubo’s dresses strike a dissonant chord between protection and pleasure. An oversized ball of a dress shields you from your environs just as much as it prizes stillness and comfort over hurried movements.
Comme’s bubble dresses have plenty of kindred spirits. Simone Rocha knotted together taffeta cape dresses that call to mind Cristobal Balenciaga’s double-bubble taffeta number from 1950. In Vogue’s September issue of that year, Cristobal’s pouf was touted as a “specialty,” something as “light as two clouds.” Jordan Dalah’s giant-sleeved top and the many cocktail poufs of Ashley Williams, Jonathan Anderson at Loewe, and Guillaume Henry at Patou look similarly weightless.