Since establishing Comme des Garçons in 1973, Rei Kawakubo has been renowned for her collections and pieces that are more akin to abstract works of art than fashion in a conventional sense. One need only look at her AW17 collection, with its sculptural dresses constructed of white wadding and devoid of arm holes, or pieces made entirely of large (seemingly blown-up) silver baubles, to see that these aren’t your run-of-the-mill clothes.
Kawakubo’s collections go beyond face value and sheer aesthetic and force the viewer to think differently about fashion, challenging the way we perceive it and its role in contemporary society and culture. In celebration of this approach to design, Kawakubo teamed up with New York’s The Met Museum, to showcase 140 of her womenswear designs dating from 1980 to the present day.
Curated by Andrew Bolton in collaboration with the designer, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between is the first show exploring the work of a living designer at The Met since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.
Running from 4 May-4 September 2017 (kicking off with The Met Gala on 1 May with celebrities loosely – depending on your opinion – interpreting the theme), the exhibition aims to explore the ‘space between boundaries’, making us rethink our preconceived notions of beauty and the female form, and question what fashion means in the 21st century.
As Kawakubo commented: “I have always pursued a new way of thinking about design…by denying established values, conventions, and what is generally accepted as the norm. And the modes of expression that have always been most important to me are fusion…imbalance… unfinished… elimination…and absence of intent.”
To see more from the exhibition, visit The Met Museum’s website.
Words by Angharad Jones. Images courtesy of The Met Museum