Rei Kawakubo To Blur The Boundaries Between Fashion, Art And Beauty For Met Gala 2017

Take a peak at this year’s Met Gala and marvel at Rei Kawakubo’s new and eye opening collection, ‘Comme de Garçon: Art of the In-Between’

Comme des Garçons – Met Gala 2017. Photo credit: Met Museum


For the past forty years, Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo has astounded both the fashion world and contemporary arts. Despite having no formal training in fashion design, she would go on to found her unique style in 1969. Known for her avant-garde designs, Kawakubo challenges the idealised notions of fashionability, beauty and good taste. So, it wasn’t any surprise that The Costume Institute exhibition decided to celebrate her unconventional fashion sense and style. What better way to show off her talent than at the Met Gala 2017.

‘Comme des Garçons’ will feature at least 120 examples of womenswear dating from the 1980’s to the most recent of Rei Kawakubo’s collections. Rather than organising her work chronologically, collections will be arranged aesthetically over eight underlying themes. Each theme touches on the designer’s search and response to this year’s Met Gala theme: ‘the experience of ‘in-betweenness’ and ‘the space between the boundaries’. The following themes include, Fashion/Anti-fashion, Design/Non-Design, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, Clothes/Not clothes.  What’s  revolutionary about Kawakubo’s designs is that an individual piece strives to break down at least two of these boundaries.

Dress meets body (left) and The Infinity of Tailoring (Right) – Rei Kawakubo. Photo credit: Vogue


Even the catalogue, designed by Fabian Baron, is a creative move in itself. Much to the public’s astonishment, treasured and archived pieces compiled in the catalogue are photographed on models rather than on mannequins. You can just hear the cries of shock and terror of all the museum staff. Those who aren’t art or museum savvy, exhibiting an archival piece on a model goes against artistic conservation practices. It’s simply not done. Anything created by Rei Kawakubo should be displayed and observed from afar. But for her Comme de Garçons exhibition, the designer encouraged the museum staff to make an exception! Ten photographers included Alan Cope, Katerina Jebb and Kazumi Kurigami contributed to the creation of the exhibition catalogue.

Photo credit: Vogue

The publication even features a brief introduction by Andrew Bolton, Curator of Comme des Garçons – “For the past 40 years. Rei Kawakubo invites us to rethink fashion as a site for creation, recreation, hybridity. She defines the aesthetics of our time”

A little trivia for you all, Rei Kawakubo is the first living designer to be celebrated at the Met Gala since 1983, after Yves Saint Laurent! Something exciting for all those fashion lovers and contemporary artists alike. What’s even more crazy is how the usually reticent designer agreed to have her work displayed at such a large event.

As of this moment, the designer has offered little explanation of her current collection nor of the event itself. According to the met museum, the exhibition is set to open on 4th May 2017. We can’t wait what Rei Kawakubo has in store for us and to see what everyone wears to the Met Gala for this theme!

Check out FIB’s 5 min web-doco on Rei Kawakubo below!

vol-39_rgbDiscover more about Rei Kawakubo and many more Masters of Fashion of all times in Fashion Industry Broadcast’s “Masters of Fashion” Vol. 39 Renegades! Available on Amazon worldwide.