Zeitgeist Rei Kawakubo and the Costume Institute
It’s no secret that Rei Kawakubo has had a huge influence on the fashion industry. The Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market founder is a true visionary that is a favorite for many fashion designers. The Antwerp Six, which includes designers Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Marina Yee, Dirk Bikkembergs, Walter van Beirendonck and Dirk Van Saene who all graduated from the Royal Academy of the Arts in the same year, cites Kawakubo as one of their biggest influences as well as Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto.
On Friday, the Costume Institute announced that its spring 2017 exhibition and gala is 'Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons', which puts the cherry on top of Kawakubo’s influence on the fashion industry.
According to the Costume Institute, the spring exhibit will “examine Kawakubo's fascination with interstitiality, or the space between boundaries.” The Institute added that the exhibition will be its first monographic show on a living designer since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983 and is the most recent show focused on a single designer since 'Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty' in 2011.
Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons couldn’t come at a better time considering the designer’s influence beyond fashion. Costume Institute Benefit Co-Chair Pharrell Williams collaborated with the brand on the G I R L fragrance that shares its name with Williams’ solo album that released in 2014. In addition, the brand has been worn by the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Kanye West, Lady Gaga and Björk among others.
Founded in 1969, Comme des Garçons was very well received in its native country Japan. The brand has over 30 women's and men's fashion, accessory and lifestyle lines from designers Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe, Fumito Ganryu, Kei Ninomiya, and Tao Kurihara. To date, the brand has collaborated with Louis Vuitton, H&M, Nike and Moncler among others.
The spring 2017 exhibition will not only chronicle the storied designer’s illustrious works and career, but will also introduce her to a new crop of global fashion enthusiasts. Perhaps the Costume Institute decided to focus on the Asian designer to replicate the success of its 'China: Through the Looking Glass' exhibition from 2015.
The 'China' exhibit is currently the Met’s fifth most visited exhibit and the first most visited exhibit for the Costume Institute. The exhibit alone attracted 815,992 visitors, many of which were from other countries. The visitor count is so high that it has influenced other museums and art galleries to hold their own fashion exhibitions. Since The Met closed the 'China' exhibit, Phoenix Art Museum, Cooper Hewitt, Museum of the City of New York and Frost Art Museum have all held exhibits about designers or curated by designers.
Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons will be on view at The Met's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall from May 4 through September 4, 2017.
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