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Rei Kawakubo

May 02, 17 Rei Kawakubo

On the eve of a major retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, [the exhibition ‘’Art of the In-Between’’ opens in New York on 4 May], we collected some facts which you might not yet know about one of the most radical and reclusive Comme des Garçons designer – Rei Kawakubo.

1.       Rei Kawakubo was born on 11 October 1942 in Tokyo.

2.       Kawakubo has never done any fashion school. She was supporting herself by working as a stylist, but she could not find any clothes she wanted to use on her shoots. Therefore, she decided to design her own.

3.       The label Comme des Garçons was founded in Tokyo in 1969. Kawakubo’s first Paris show was in 1981.

Body meets dress, dress meets body Collection Spring 1997

4.       During the 1980s, her garments were primarily in black, dark grey or white. The emphasis on black clothing led to the Japanese press describing Kawakubo and her followers as ‘The Crows’.

5.       Kawakubo is convinced that if she stops, she will never be able to start again. That’s why she never stops.

6.       Rei admits that the creative process is acutely painful for her.

Dimensions collection Fall 2012

7.       CDG specializes in anti-fashion.

8.       “Not Making Clothing” – the name of the Spring/Summer 2014 CDG collection. When she changed everything, a sort of a new start, from scratch for the designer. Initially she wanted the exhibition to focus only on the past four years, the eight collections she has shown for women since “Not Making Clothing’’ one.

9.       According to its folklore, Japan is one of the most haunted places on earth.

10.   Kawakubo loves uniforms, which has been a constant in her collections. She has created her own uniform pieces too. The Aoyama bag has been on shelf for 20 years.

The Future of Silhouette Collection Fall 2017

11.   Asymmetry, irregularity and imperfection – by this conceptual Zen Buddhist trinity the designer is explaining her work.

12.   CDG’s designs have inspired many designers starting from the Belgian Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester to the modern most (anti)fashion influencer Demna Gvasalia.

13.   ‘’Someone trying to measure infinity’’, – that’s how a journalist Robin Givhan sums up Kawakubo.

14.   She likes London because there are lots of trees.

Ballerina Motorbike Collection Spring 2005

15.   Rei Kawakubo’s multi-tentacled business generates revenue of over $280 million a year

16.   Rei Kawakubo’s husband, Adrian Josse, is 10 years younger than she is. He is a president of Comme des Garçons. While Joffe is based in Paris, his wife lives in Tokyo.

17.   She explains her last collection as ‘’a way of expressing the notion of un-fabric’’.

18.   The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s spring 2017 exhibition will be only the second such show to honor a living designer, the other recipient being Yves Saint Laurent in 1983.

Photo Credits: Comme des Garçons and Vogue France