Wednesday, July 5, 2017


The Costume Institute at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is “examining” the work of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo for its spring 2017 exhibition.

Designs by Rei Kawakubo, at the Met.
The show, “Art of the In-Between”, features approximately 140 examples of designs by Kawakubo, who is known for her avant-garde works as well as her ability to challenge accepted notions of beauty, good taste, and "fashionability”, according to the Institute.

The items on display date from the early 1980s to Kawakubo’s most recent collection for Comme des Garçons (the company she founded in 1969), with many of the designs having “heads and wigs created and styled by Julien d'Ys”.

Visitors will be struck not only by the bold colours and cuts but also by the futuristic elements that would appeal to interplanetary travellers. Beyond that, the show demolishes any concept of barriers between art and fashion design.

Kawakubo: dresses, or not?
“Kawakubo breaks down the imaginary walls between these dualisms, exposing their artificiality and arbitrariness,” says the Institute.

It has organized the exhibits into nine “aesthetic expressions of interstitiality” in the designer's work. These are: Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes.

Viewers will find themselves drawn into this exploration of “in-betweenness” and will probably leave inspired by the boundlessness of a creative mind such as Kawakubo’s. And then, there are the clothes: to wear or not to wear?

"Art of the In-Between" runs until Sept. 4, 2017.

The Met’s Costume Institute has a collection of more than 35,000 costumes and accessories, “representing  five continents and seven centuries of fashionable dress, regional costumes, and accessories for men, women, and children, from the fifteenth century to the present.”