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Comme des Garcons: The Art of the In-Between

The Costume Institute examines Rei Kawakubo’s distinctive design aesthetic

Comme des Garcons: The Art of the In-Between

The Costume Institute examines Rei Kawakubo’s distinctive design aesthetic

The Comme des Garcons exhibition opens for fashions biggest night out at the Met Gala 2017,  honored by Japenese designer Rei Kawakubo. Entitled “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between” the exhibition celebrates her creative and captivating work, exploring the designers “ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, good taste and fashionability”.

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Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rei Kawakubo, the founding designer of the fashion empire Comme des Garcons, produces the most creative unconventional clothing, with a vision of ignoring what clothes should be and instead illustrates clothes through an artistic form.
The designer first appeared on the scene in the early 1970’s being known for creating fascinating pieces, now well loved by big style icons including A$AP Rocky, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams who were all co-chairs of the Costume Institute Gala.

The art-of-the-inbetween-comme-des-garcons-exhibition-preview-002Image: Paolo Roversi; courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Art of the In-Between is the most highly anticipated exhibition from a living designer since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983, featuring around 140 Comme des Garcons womenswear designs, from the 1980’s to the designer’s most current collection to date.

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Image: Paolo Roversi; courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The MET exhibition showcases the designer’s revolutionized experiments in “in betweenness”, meaning the space between boundaries. The exhibition is organized into nine themes examining the duality found in Kawakubo’s designs; Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low. Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes. All themes combine masculine and feminine clothing traditions, featuring exaggerated silhouettes, theatrical costume designs and variation of lace, silk, embroidery and feathering detailing.

The-art-of-the-inbetween-comme-des-garcons-exhibition-preview-005Image: Paolo Roversi; courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The design of the exhibition can be compared to a maze with podiums, arches and elevated galleries in pure pristine white volumes. This clinical space is further enhanced by fluorescent lighting across the ceiling to highlight every garment. Garments are label and text free with only numbers on the floor to identify each item, allowing the visitor to be fully immersed in the exhibition without distraction. Mannequins are placed at eye-level without any glass protection or physical barriers, a thoughtful way for the audience to engage with the exhibit on a more personal and devoted level.

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Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rei Kawakubo’s exclusive exhibition Art of the In-Between opens to the public on the 4th of May to the 4th of September at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York, for more information and tickets click here.

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