Rei Kawakubo / COMME des GARçONS @ The Met: the woman who revolutionized fashion aesthetics

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Comme des Garçons dress photo by Paolo Roversi, 1997

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“Kiko” by Beatrice Brandini

“What I do is not influenced by what is happening in the world of fashion or culture. I’m from abstract images to create a new concept of beauty.” Rei Kawakubo. This phrase explains more than any other word the magnificent and unique route of Comme des Garçons.

I think Rei Kawakubo is one of the greatest fashion designers of all time, who, together with a few others, has revolutionized a taste, an aesthetics, a fashion concept at 360 degree I have no items of this brand, I probably would not even be able to wear it, butI respect her vision very much, and it is precisely from this respect that my post is born and my great esteem for Rei.

Rei Kawakubo has overturned the aesthetic fees at a time when fashion meant glamorous. The Comme des Garçons brand was born in 1969 but popularity was achieved in the eighties. Always collections that do not follow the trends, which do not want to please spectators or buyers, clothes that cut the preconceptions of sex, age and physicality, understood as the proportion of the body.

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Linda Evangelist photographed by Luigi & Iango for Vogue Japan, 2014

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Linda Evangelist photographed by Luigi & Iango for Vogue Japan, 2014

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Linda Evangelist photographed by Luigi & Iango for Vogue Japan, 2014

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Linda Evangelist photographed by Luigi & Iango for Vogue Japan, 2014

The Metropolitan Museum of New York will pay tribute tomorrow to September 4 with the Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçcons exhibition Art of the In-Between, is the second retrospective dedicated to a living designer (the first one was on Yves Saint Laurent In 1983). The curator of the exhibition, Andrew Bolton, explains how complex it is to achieve it, because of the famous resemblance to the artist’s appearance but above all because Rei prefers that the public is to interpret her work and not vice versa. In any case, the exhibition is the incredible journey of this designer divided into sections, such as fashion / anti-fashion, then / now, subject / object, through 120 dresses made between 1981 and 2017. Rei Kawakubo has not only innovated Fashion, but also design, architecture, art in general.

“There are few active designers today able to tell them in an artistic context, but Rei is one of these,” Bolton told the New York Times. “By splitting up the divide between art and fashion, Kawakubo asks us to imagine the clothes differently,” says Thomas Campbel, director of Met, explaining that Bolton will “explore the designer’s work through garments that look like sculptures in an exhibition that will challenge the conventions on the role of fashion in contemporary culture “.

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Some rooms set up at Met with creations of Comme des Garçons

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Some rooms set up at Met with creations of Comme des Garçons

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Some rooms set up at Met with creations of Comme des Garçons

Rei Kawakubo with Comme des Garçons emphasized female shapes with improbable padding, has overturned clothing so that the seams became decorations, created clothes with sloping shoulders, wide trousers and male shoes, codifying a new androgynous aesthetic, she has used black as the primary color and the protagonist of entire collections, at a time when it was destined almost exclusively to funerals ….

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Comme des Garçons dress

“I feel that if for a moment I’m completely satisfied (about a design or project) I will not be able to do anything else. One instant of satisfaction and I worry that I won’t be able to come up with the next creation. I always have to have that hunger…” Rei Kawakubo. To do something new has always been a her prerogative, from male models to female collections (no, it’s not new to the concept of a-gender for Rei!), to aged textiles, asymmetric cuts, pads, squats, shreds , the total black …

Many stylists who have drawn from her immense creative universe, I think of Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang, Ann Demeulmeester, Donna Karan. Yet Rei is devoid of scholastic concepts in fashion design, and she comes to this world through the advertising office of the Japanese textile company Asahi Kasei (I know pretty well) by designing the clothes she did not find but who needed her in her work.

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Comme des Garçons, Anna Cleveland photographed by Paolo Roversi

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Comme des Garçons, Anna Cleveland photographed by Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo brought a completely new perspective to fashion, but the intent was never to satisfy the market, to please him, Rei wanted to innovate, challenge some fashion-related preconceptions; a brave challenge considering that this world is increasingly focusing on marketability rather than creativity. But it is not by chance that those who have challenged these laws, although they have often found obstacles along their way (I think of Lacroix, Gigli, Westwood, Azzedine Alaia …), will leave a mark in fashion and in the history of the costume , and, wonderful feeling, in the students who will be inspired by their creativity all over the world. “I didn’t want to be just an other fashion brand. I wanted to make a new statement.” Rei Kawakubo

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Kety Perry photographed by Mert and Marcus for Vogue America, May 2017

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Kety Perry photographed by Mert and Marcus for Vogue America, May 2017

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Kety Perry photographed by Mert and Marcus for Vogue America, May 2017

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Kety Perry photographed by Mert and Marcus for Vogue America, May 2017

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Kety Perry photographed by Mert and Marcus for Vogue America, May 2017

“People interest me. I am inspired by the people surrounding me. Beatiful or stylish is a personal feeling. I don’t have a definition of beauty.” Rei Kawakubo … I conclude with these wonderful words, perfect for refusing (maybe demolishing, I hope, for some) the current concept of Beauty, that is, vulgar, banal, and, especially today, ostentatious. At a time when everyone feels free to say what he wants (but he has nothing to do with the freedom of culturally democratic speech), “theologians” of nothing, an artist who for over forty years has carried on her aesthetics with hard work, dignity and great poetry, can only make us think.

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Historical creations by Comme des Garçons interpreted by Beatrice Brandini

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Historical creations by Comme des Garçons interpreted by Beatrice Brandini

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Historical creations by Comme des Garçons interpreted by Beatrice Brandini

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Historical creations by Comme des Garçons interpreted by Beatrice Brandini

Good life to everyone!

Beatrice

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