The Comme des Garçons Revolution
Posted on 27 July 2017
In Tokyo in 1973 Rei Kawakubo would start what would soon become a revolution - Comme des Garçons.
Kawakubo has long been heralded as the leading voice of the avant-garde in fashion, influencing generations of designers to look at convention and throw it out the window. She founded the company on the premise of creation.
Behind the scenes Kawakubo strives to have input in all aspects of her business. She is greatly involved in graphic design, advertising, and shop interiors, believing that all these things are a part of one vision and are inextricably linked.
It is her creative vision and smart business sense that have led to one of the most visionary and trail-blazing brands in the fashion industry today.
Comme des Garçons (French for "like boys”) is known for being anti-fashion and creating austere, often deconstructed garments.
“I felt I should be doing something more directional, more powerful. In fashion we had to get away from the influence of what had been done in the 1920s or the 1930s. We had to get away from the folkloric. I decided to start from zero, from nothing, to do things that have not been done before, things with a strong image.”
Creating pieces that could be considered more wearable art than clothes, Kawakubo burst on to the scene, challenging the established notions of beauty. She created an uproar at her debut Paris fashion show where journalists labeled her clothes 'Hiroshima chic' amongst other things.
The materials seen in a Comme des Garçons collection are often draped around the body in dramatic asymmetric shapes, with frayed, unfinished edges.
"Comme des Garçons is a gift to oneself, not something to appeal or to attract the opposite sex.”
It’s always been Kawakubo’s aim to not do things like everybody else and to instead endeavour to make things that didn’t exist before. From the beginning, she dispensed with any preconceived notions about western and eastern social norms and cultures, as all these things are irrelevant to her world.
Speaking to Hypebeast in 2011, Kawakubo’s husband Adrian Joffe described his wife as being at the highest possible level of creativity, referring to her work as “pure creation” as she deliberately casts away all questions of upbringing, nationality and sociology. So much of her work comes from just from a feeling, an emotion, rather than a concrete reference.
Kawakubo is above else all an inventor of silhouettes and techniques that make audiences question everything they know about conventional clothes.