The Metropolitan Museum of Art has decided and publicly announced that the 2017 Costume Institute exhibition and the 2017 Met Gala theme will be Rei Kawakubo/ Comme des Garçons. More specifically the Costume Institute’s spring 2017 exhibition will be on from May 4th through September 7th and will deeply explore Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons. Any presentation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a big, noteworthy deal, but the last time a living designer had a monograph show at the Met was the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit that was shown in 1983.
Curator Andrew Bolton is the head of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and he has stated in support of the decision that “Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years.” If that was not clear enough, he elaborated on her aesthetics and intention by saying that “by inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.”
This may be due to Rei Kawakubo’s background and the way she runs her company now, but her designs have certainly had a marked influence on several big designers like Martin Margiela, Helmut Lang and Ann Demeulemeester.
Rei Kawakubo is not a traditionally trained fashion designer, but actually studied at Keio University in fine arts and literature. Post graduation she worked at the Ashai Kasi textile company in the advertising department. In 1967 she began to work as a stylist on a freelance basis.
The designs she has developed are decided outside the mainstream, considered to be anti-fashion in some circles, but in the best way possible. People do not glance at her designs; they study them and introspectively considering the effect of the designs.
While Rei Kawakubo is known to be a camera-shy recluse, she lets her designs stand tall and speak loudly for her. She has a bi annual magazine that she publishes full of personally inspiring photography. She is involved within her company on many levels rather than just sticking to design alone.
The 2017 Met Gala (The Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute Benefit) is scheduled on May 1st, and excitement is already gearing up in anticipation of the amazing outfits we will all be talking about for weeks after the gala. The honorary chair of the Gala event is, of course, Rai Kawakubo, and the other co-chairs are Pharrell Williams, Anna Wintour and Katy Perry.
Rei Kawakubo said in a released statement: “I have always pursued a new way of thinking about design … by denying established values, conventions, and what is generally accepted as the norm. And the modes of expression that have always been most important to me are fusion … imbalance … unfinished … elimination … and absence of intent.”
Photo courtesy of Livingly