Rei Kawakubo Comme des Garçons

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), Blue Witch, spring/summer 2016, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, © Paolo Roversi

 

 

Art of the In-Between

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), NotMaking Clothing, spring/summer 2014, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, © Paolo Roversi

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute spring 2017 exhibition, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, will examine Kawakubo’s fascination with interstitiality, or the space between boundaries.

The Costume Institute’s spring 2017 exhibition will examine the work of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. The thematic show will feature approximately 150 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear for Comme des Garçons dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection.

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), Body Meets Dress – Dress Meets Body, spring/summer 1997, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, © Paolo Roversi

The galleries will illustrate the designer’s revolutionary experiments in “in-betweenness”—the space between boundaries. Objects will be organized into eight aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo’s work: Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Design/Not Design, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes. Kawakubo breaks down the imaginary walls between these dualisms, exposing their artificiality and arbitrariness.

This in-between space is revealed in Kawakubo’s work as an aesthetic sensibility, establishing an unsettling zone of oscillating visual ambiguity that challenges conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. Not a traditional retrospective, this thematic exhibition will be The Costume Institute’s first monographic show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), Body Meets Dress – Dress Meets Body, spring/ summer 1997, Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, © Paolo Roversi

In celebration of the opening, The Met’s Costume Institute Benefit, also known as The Met Gala, will take place on Monday, May 1, 2017. The evening’s co-chairs will be Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, and Anna Wintour. Rei Kawakubo and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy will serve as Honorary Chairs. The event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements.

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