There’s a theory of study that goes, fashion is its image. That is, that fashion becomes fashion when it is represented as fashion, when it’s photographed, illustrated, put in context; it’s in the pose, not the clothes. The proposal is convincing and its counter arguments are all semantics (obviously, there are many different ways to define “fashion”), so we’re going to go with it—fashion is its image.
This is especially true in our era of street style photography, when any stylish spin through public space could land you forever still in an image. The trick to this definition of fashion is that x look doesn’t even necessarily have to be photographed to be considered fashion, it just needs to be photogenic, made to be seen. We’ve internalized the fashion image as such: when we wear fashion, we wear it as if in an image.
Why am I going on in this utterly indulgent theoretical spin? Really, it’s not that relevant to this post, except in that it’s exactly what Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo inspires in me.
The news to report is that one of Bullett’s favorite fashion retailers, LN-CC, has curated a collection of rare Comme des Garçons publications, and that they’re all gorgeous and intellectual and worth a peruse, if not a purchase.
CdG has always made printed matter alongside their clothing materials. At LN-CC right now, you can get the best of it, including the highly elusive Comme Des Garcons 1981-1986, published in Tokyo in 1986 (original obi slipcover intact); issues of the brand’s in-house magazine Six, which ran between 1988 and 1991; Visionaire *20, the Rei guest-curated issue from 1997, with “visual interview” photographs by Mario Sorrenti, Phillip-Lorca diCorcia and Nick Knight, plus a sealed muslin dress pattern, included to mark the launch of the CdG ‘bump’ collection; and more.
I count Comme des Garçons among the most democratic fashion brands, not because it’s cheap (it’s not), but because you don’t need to own and wear it to appreciate it. Rei Kawakubo understands fashion as image (how spectacular, bizarre, and ogleable her clothes are; how seminal her printed image/texts are to them), but the CdG image has always been about more than fashion, and that’s what you’ll learn from the LN-CC CdG library—about geography and history, gender and philosophy, nature and sociology, music and architecture, and I’m going to shut up now.