“REI KAWAKUBO/COMME DES GARÇONS: ART OF THE IN-BETWEEN”

COSTUME INSTITUTE, METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
NEW YORK
Through September 4
Curated by Andrew Bolton

Rei Kawakubo remains the most rigorous of the designers who first incited deconstruction in fashion. For nearly four decades, she has intervened on every level of production and distribution, sabotaging fabric by loosening the screws of mechanical looms, deploying consistently oblique methods of advertising, radically deforming the shape of clothes, even selling absolutely abstruse ideas of what a perfume can be. This spring, she is being given the rarest honor: a monographic show at the Met, the first for a living fashion designer since Yves Saint Laurent’s in 1983. The Costume Institute’s presentation will span the entire international existence of Comme des Garçons, featuring approximately 150 womenswear pieces, going back to the label’s infamous 1981 Paris debut. Despite this conventional retrospective scope, expect the show to defy grandeur, maybe even make you feel a bit off: Kawakubo enmeshes porous global consumers in the full spectrum of their feelings—up to and including alienation.

Ken Okiishi