“The only thing important to me is making clothing”. Rei Kawakubo
But how can one go wrong reviewing the work of Rei Kawakubo, she is by far one of the most influential designers within the avant-garde fashion movement and can be placed within the Balenciaga tier and is a predecessor to the likes of Rick Owens and his approach to Goth. In a nut shell Kawakubo is an amazing artist who did not formally study fashion design but philosophy.
“The only thing important to me is making clothing”. Rei Kawakubo founded Comme des Garcons (Like the Boys) in 1969, she opened her first store in Tokyo in 1975, and opens her first shop in the West, of all places, Paris. Critiques call her debute collection in Paris “atomic chic and post Hiroshima”. The collection was a benchmark for fashion, never had the fashion world seen such, “crow colors” and never had we seen so much deconstruction and the play of non-sexuality take precedence on the run way.
In a time when French and Italian designers played the perfect role of excellent construction, like the likes of Terry Mugger and Versace, Kawakubo played the deconstruction card waging a war on conformity. Changing the way she saw the world helped us see a new approach to fashion via her obscure and so celebrate new silhouettes that forever transformed the way we see a wardrobe.
Politics and fashion go hand in hand, during the 1980’s the Regan’s ruled the world and the trend was being proper. It was all about the jacket, the skirt the beading and the chic of proper perfection. In New York City the homelessness had reached epic proportions and when Fall/Winter seasons approached, the homeless were draped with bed covers. They looked the part of some mid-evil lords that walked the streets of 5th Ave. The fashion world has always wondered how influential this epic time may have influenced the design sensibilities of Kawakubo’s work. There is no mistaking it, some of her earlier work is all drapes to silhouette the particular time. After all art is a magnification of our contemporary life.
As a designer and a huge admirer of Rei Kuwakubo’s work , I salute the opportunity to have reviewed her work August 15, 2013 at the Seattle Art Museum