Every year the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York presents an exhibition that explores the relationship between art and fashion. This year, the exhibition entitled Rei Kawakubo Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between pays tribute to the designer based in Tokyo and examines her fascination with the space between limits and dualities. Known for her bold, offbeat style, her designs present a challenge to traditional ideas of beauty, good taste, and style. It is the first time, since 1983 when it did with Yves Saint Laurent, that the museum decides to dedicate an exhibition to a designer who still lives.
"I have always sought new ways of thinking about design … by denying established values, customs and what is generally accepted as normal. And the means of expression that have always been the most important to me are fusion … imbalance … the unfinished … elimination … and lack of intent, "says Kawakubo about his process.
The exhibition examines nine themes that oppose each other: Absence / Presence; Design / No Design; Fashion / Antimode; Model / Multiple; High Low; Before now; Self / Other; Object / Subject; and Clothing / No Clothing. By doing this, the Japanese designer exposes how artificial these opposing themes are and causes a connection and coexistence between them.
"In the blurred line between fashion and art, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing," says Metropolitan director Thomas P. Campbell.
The silhouettes of the pieces are structured and geometric, the fabrics and materials a combination of the usual and unusual and the uninhibited designs. "[Rei] Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years," says Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton. "By inviting us to think of fashion [otherwise] as if it were a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybrids, she has defined the aesthetics of our time."
To celebrate the exhibition, the famous Met Gala will take place on May 1st.
Rei Kawakubo Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between will be open to the public from May 4 to September 4 at the Metropolitan Museum of New York.