One of the industry’s most engimatic figures, Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo has been at the forefront of fashion since the 1970s. Shrouded in mystery, she’s spent the last forty-something years shocking the press with her fearless designs and flagrant disregard for the rules. Now, Japanese fashion’s great iconoclast is said to be getting an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
The news hasn’t been confirmed by the Met, or indeed Comme, but has been reported by reputable fashion industry trade journal WWD, who are usually right about these sorts of things. According to the publication, the exhibition will open in spring and, if true, will mark the second time in the institution’s history that it’s devoted a show to a living designer. The only other time it’s done this was is 1983, when the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Diana Vreeland put on a show dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent.
According to the Met’s website, “Kawakubo’s empire combines an industrially inspired socialist work ethic with a nearly fanatical desire to purvey clothing as an ever-changing product of its sociocultural environment, citing both neorealism and futurism in runway collections and advertising.”
It may be decades since Kawakubo’s debuted a collection which one apalled journalist called “Hiroshima chic”, but as her recent shows continue to demonstrate her enduring iconoclasm. Her SS16 collection, which was presented at Paris Fashion Week last September and shot for the spring/summer 2016 issue of Dazed, embodied her mediation on “Blue Witches” by which she meant “Powerful women who are misunderstood, but do good in the world” according to her husband Adrian Joffe.