Comme des Garçons

Rei Kawakubo is perhaps the most famous name in Japanese fashion. And while her Comme des Garçons line has received worldwide acclaim and commercial success, the archive work produced under Kawakubo’s direction in the 1980s and 90s is some of the most sought-after clothing in the world. When Kawakubo’s work debuted in Paris in the late 70s it was met with lukewarm reception from European critics, but it was not long before the radical, fantastical inventiveness of Comme des Garçons took over the runway worldwide. Kawakubo’s penchant for dissolving gendered barriers in dress and constructing indeterminate, anti-symmetrical silhouettes quickly set her apart. The 1980s Kawakubo runway shows turn cloth into weaponized absurdity—they play with the figments of historical technique and construction, provoking wonder, enchantment, and critical thought. By contrast, the austerity of the ready-to-wear collections convey a subtlety that is at once functional and disruptive.  Kawakubo is an undisputed master, and to date her work reflects an insatiable desire to tear down creative boundaries, coupled paradoxically with an intimate intuition for the power of restraint.