Review: Metropolitan Museum: Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, #MetKawakubo

Walking through this exhibit, I just kept thinking: “This creation tops them all, no then this; oh, wait this!” Every piece makes you think, forces you to interact with the notion of fashion, the female form and mostly how and what artist and fashion designer Rei Kawakubo is thinking, perverting, challenging, subverting, playing and participating in art and fashion when she created these masterpieces.

It’s nothing like what I remember of the Comme des Garçons SoHo store, which opened in the early 1980s here in New York City. My mother, always on the cutting edge of…well, most everything, took me there to shop and look around, as did my stepmother, also always on the cutting edge of trends. What I remember is black clothing, unisex, in long drapey shapes, unflattering to the body and almost apocalyptic. This Met show, #MetKawakubo,
shows me, shows us, a sliver of the real Rei Kawakubo and the Comme des Garçons that she showed the world.

Here’s what the New York Times said about this exhibit and I’m quoting them because I couldn’t have said it better:

"The stripped-down presentation of some 120 often strange, extravagant (and sometimes black) garments rifles through the history of clothes and art, combines fabrics in unimagined ways and confounds expectation." 

Most pieces gave me great joy and delight to behold them.  

From the Met Museum

“…this is the great work of 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 features approximately 140 examples of Kawakubo's womenswear for Comme des Garçons dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection, many with heads and wigs created and styled by Julien d'Ys. The galleries illustrate the designer's revolutionary experiments in "in-betweenness"—the space between boundaries. Objects are organized into nine aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo's work: Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Fashion/Anti-Fashion, 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.”

Oh go, just go. If you are a fashion maven, an artist, a lover of mastery in art, a craft person, a fabricator or just love a scene – go!

At The Met Fifth Avenue


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