Rei Kawakubo-Comme des Garçons: The Art of the In-Between

Rei Kawakubo-Comme des Garçons: The Art of the In-Between

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: The Art of the In-Between” will be at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, till 4th September. It is the first fashion exhibition the Met has dedicated to a living designer since Yves Saint Laurent, in 1983. It examines the work of a fashion designer known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty and fashionability. It is possible to see 140 Kawakubo's dresses created for her brand Comme des Garçons dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection, many with heads and wigs created and styled by hair stylist Julien d'Ys. The galleries illustrate the designer's revolutionary experiments in trying to break the imaginary walls between dualisms (Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes), and in trying to fill the space between boundaries. Rei Kawakubo has always wanted to create clothes that push the boundaries and standard definitions. 

 

 

Rei Kawakubo, born October 11, 1942, in Tokyo, studies fine arts and aesthetics at Keio University. In 1964, she begins a job in the advertising department of a textile company. She is given creative freedom by her superior there and becomes involved in collecting costumes for photo shoots. This activity leds her to design her own models when she can’t find an appropriate costume for a shoot. Shortly after, in 1967 she becomes a freelance stylist. Without any formal fashion training, she launches Comme des Garçons and in 1973 she opens her first boutique in Tokyo’s Minami-Aoyama district . From the beginning she approches the work in a different way: the front display windows of the shop are often kept vacant while the clothes remain in the back room of the shop, and there are no mirrors in the boutique to emphasise the notion that one should buy clothes because of how they make you feel, not how they make you look. Kawakubo prefers to design for women who are comme des garçons (“like boys”). Women who don’t dress to seduce or gain a man’s approval, and who prefer mobility and confort. When she first shows in Paris in 1981, she shocks the critics. While fashion is  dominated by the high glamour of Gianni Versace and Thierry Mugler, she presents  garments which are dark, oversized, asymmetrical, and do not conform to the lines of the human body. The collection is even attacked on a political level, labelled “Hiroshima chic” or “post atomic”. Despite this, with the guidance of CDG’s CEO and Rei’s husband Adrian Joffe, Kawakubo has penetrated the fashion market and has become one of the most influent designer of the world.

 

 

All the photos taken from: http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2017/rei-kawakubo/select-images

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