Comme des Garçons A/W 2012
The Met’s Costume Institute is reportedly focusing its next retrospective on the notoriously reclusive Rei Kawakubo. If true, this would be the second time the Institute has honored a living designer—the last time being Yves Saint Laurent in 1983. Since founding Comme des Garçons in 1969, Kawakubo has rarely given any interviews, and has always stayed true to her avant-garde aesthetic. A Kawakubo-centered exhibition at the museum would offer the most expansive look into the late-designer’s catalogue to date.
Known for her use of deconstruction, manipulation of traditional shapes and 3D designs, Kawakubo is a fashion legend. The designer showed her first collection in Paris in 1981, after already achieving success in Japan for both her menswear and womenswear lines. Her use of distressed fabrics with an acute focus on black turned the fashion world’s heads—and they haven’t stopped staring since.
Comme des Garçons A/W 2016
Her most recent collection for fall ’16, was an experimental take on “18th Century punk,” in which she subverted furs, vinyl and floral fabrics for a stunning collection. Still, until recently, Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons were largely outsiders in the mainstream fashion world with Kawakubo’s designs leaning closer to visual art than ready-wear. Her recent foray into pop culture came from collaborations with brands like Doc Martens and Converse, as well as the launch of casual Comme des Garçons Play. Regardless, the designer remains dedicated to creating alternative high fashion.
The Met’s website calls “Kawakubo’s empire” a combination of “an industrially inspired socialist work ethic with a nearly fanatical desire to purvey clothing as an ever-changing product of its sociocultural environment, citing both neorealism and futurism in runway collections and advertising.” Though, representatives for the museum have yet to comment on the show, sources say a Kawakubo retrospective would rival “Savage Beauty”—a strong statement, indeed.