All images courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Perhaps every six months for the past 40 years, Rei Kawakubo has furthered her exploration of fashion as it relates to art and the body. Her often startling and eye-opening collections require active viewing and they continue to expand our definitions of beauty. As there is nothing conventional about Kawakubo’s approach to fashion, it’s fitting that the upcoming Costume Institute exhibition celebrating her work should also break new ground.
Despite its breadth, “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons” is arranged thematically rather than chronologically. It’s also the first fashion show at the Met since 1983 to focus on a single, living, designer. Then there’s the catalogue, in which archival pieces are photographed on models rather than mannequins, a practice usually forbidden to museums because of custodial and conservation issues, but in this case was given the green light by Comme des Garçons archive, which provided the pieces. Ten photographers were invited to contribute: Nicholas Alan Cope, Inez and Vinoodh, Katerina Jebb, Kazumi Kurigami, Ari Marcopoulos, Craig McDean, Brigitte March Niedermair, Paolo Roversi, and Collier Schorr—all of whom have created stunning new images for the Fabien Baron–designed exhibition catalogue, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.
This lavishly illustrated publication features text by Andrew Bolton who interviews the normally reticent designer about her work and process. Here’s an exclusive sneak peek of what’s to come.