The Costume Institute’s Rei Kawakubo Comme des Garcon is Off and Running

IMG_1744

I was never invited to the Comme des Garcon show when I attended Paris fashion weeks. Even when I worked under Amy Spindler at the New York Times who would make a call to the CDG office to request one for me—it didn’t happen. She was arguably one of the most powerful fashion journalists of her time, so if she couldn’t make it happen then no one could. Despite sneaking into one of the shows to see what all the reverence was about and being educated in Yohji, Comme and Undercover by my editors one of which was Franz Ankone, I never really got it. At the time I was into more conventional  fashion. That didn’t mean I couldn’t get the intellectual messages at a runway show. I was a big fan of Miuccia Prada, Hussein Chalayan and Alexander McQueen all of whom presented runway shows that made goose bumps appear all over your skin and you left with a strong message that you couldn’t shake. I was clear that a fashion show was about more than the clothing but Comme des Garcon was odd in a way I couldn’t understand. I suppose it was like looking at a Picasso and not getting his cubist interpretations. I just wasn’t a fan.

 

IMG_1713

But today at The Met’s Costume Institute’s preview, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcon Art of the In-Between, I saw a true artist’s retrospective. It’s easy enough to make a dress that follows the human form, but to use the form as a means to explore a subject is as cerebral as it gets. And to wear a CDG creation is a social statement not an enhancement of a female body. That is not to say that they are not a viable at retail. The “Play” collection with it’s whimsical heart logo on sneakers and t-shirts has become a favorite with teens. The Dover Street Market (an international shop) is a construct of Rei’s partner and sells both Comme and other highly regarded fashion brands like Gucci.

 

IMG_1745IMG_1726IMG_1756

Today at the preview the former ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy spoke as well as the Costume Institute’s curator, Andrew Bolton. The exhibition space was spare with white washed walls and alcoves which displayed mannequins in different groupings.  The simplicity of the space and the way it is displayed with bright natural light added to the impact of the artful fashion. Dates were not given to the looks to underscore timelessness.

 

 

IMG_1716

 

 

IMG_1729IMG_1721IMG_1749IMG_1767
My opinion of  Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garcon has evolved as I have. She uses clothing to express her message and pushes the boundaries of the normal. Her work challenges us and we need that more than ever. In our instafame-fast-fashion-botox-Kardashian world, seeing this retrospective is a worthwile respite and reminder that we must think and see deeper, question the normal, and live with more meaning than what is on the surface.  

About Mimi Lombardo

I'm a seasoned fashion editor, stylist and writer. I write about fashion and luxury from an insider's perspective. Check out my styling portfolio at mimi-lombardo.format.com.
This entry was posted in Exhibition, Fashion. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s