For the first time in more than 30 years, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute chose a living designer as the theme of its annual exhibition: Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo. The last time The Met took this direction was in 1983 with an Yves Saint Laurent exhibition. This year’s curation will examine Kawakubo’s focus on the space between boundaries, and how she challenges staid ideas of beauty, good taste, and fashionability.
“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,” Kawakubo said in a press statement.
Andrew Bolton will curate about 120 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons, that span her first runway show in Paris in 1981 to her Spring 2017 collection. Mannequins will be displayed at eye level, with no barrier between the designs and the viewer. The entire exhibit will be organized thematically instead of chronologically, specifically the dichotomies between East/West, male/female, and past/present.
The fashion world is already buzzing about who will wear what in keeping with the theme at the Met Gala on May 1. Co-chairs this year will be Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, and Anna Wintour. Kawakubo will serve as honorary chair. Let the planning begin!