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“The only thing important to me is making clothes.”

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1 “The only thing important to me is making clothes.”
Norma Gredonia Introduction to Fashion March 19, 2013

2 “The only thing important to me is making clothes,” Rei Kawakubo once said.
In 1942, Rei Kawakubo was born. In 1964, graduated in fine arts, Keio University, Tokyo, 1964.  In , worked in advertising department, Asahi Kasei textile firm. In 1967, began career as Free Lance artist working in textile company, though untrained as a Fashion Designer. In 1969, established her own company, Comme des Garcons Co. Ltd. in Tokyo which incorporated in 1973. “Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons has dramatically influenced the Western perspective on body adornment and the meaning of clothes, as well as the Japanese conception of what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated society….”, as quoted from

3 Comme des Garcons Co. Ltd.
Debuted in Paris in 1981. Introduced Homme menswear, Introduced Robe de Chambre lines, 1981. Formed Comme des Garçons, S.A. Ready-to-Wear subsidiary, 1982. Introduced Homme Plus collection, Introduced Homme Deux and Noir collections, 1987. What have been referred to as "rag-picker" clothes, an homage to the spontaneity and inventiveness of street people, was based on fabric innovation—cloth that crumpled and wrapped, that draped coarsely as layers, folded and buttoned at random. Comme des Garcons specializes in anti fashion, austere, sometimes deconstructed garments, sometimes lacking a sleeve or other component. Her garments are primarily in black, dark gray, and white, often worn with combat boots.

4 Design Traits Anti-fashion Deconstructed garments
Primarily black, grey, or white Asymmetry Unfinished Comme des Garçons became the preferred label of the avant-garde and the highly independent.  Breaking the conventional rules, Kawakubo continues to push boundaries, perfectly marrying fashion with art in the most unexpected of ways.

5 Controversial Collections: Broken Bride
 Throwing political correctness to the wind, Montana once labeled Kawakubo’s controversial look “post-atomic.” Another put-down then commonly tossed in her direction was “ragpicker”; and, in 1983, The Christian Science Monitor suggested that “Comme des Garçons (Like the Boys) might more aptly be titled Comme des Clochards (Like the Tramps).”

6 Controversial Collections: Destroy
Controversy, for which the inventive icon was often criticized, sparked again when the "anti" designer introduced "Sleep," her Comme des Garçons men's pajama collection. Striped and available in layers, the pajamas came as a reminder of the Nazi death camps, for the show occurred on the 50th anniversary of the Holocaust. The line, described as being stamped with "identification numbers" displayed by "emaciated" models with "shaved heads," soon was removed by Kawakubo herself.

7 Controversial Collections: Dress Meets Body, Body Meets Dress
Among the many tipping points in her career was the bulbous, padded Dress Meets Body, Body Meets Dress collection of 1996: “Critics denounced the designs as ‘tumor’ dresses,” Vogue later observed, “but Kawakubo weathered the outrage, and her larger achievement—her avant-garde triumph—was that she gave people a chance to feel passionately about fashion.”[2]

8 Competitor: Issey Miyake

9 Competitor: Yohji Yamamoto

10 Inspired: Martin Margiela

11 Inspired: Ann Demeulemeester

12 Junya Watanabe  My approach is simple. It is nothing other than what I am thinking at the time I make each piece of clothing, whether I think it is strong and beautiful. The result is something that other people decide.

13 Sells line in shop: Tao Kurihara

14 Spring 2000 RTW Kawakubo continued her ongoing experimentation with proportions, layering, pleats and ruffles, creating some of the most original pieces of the season. Ballerina tights were stuffed with layers of chiffon that peeked sheepishly from the girls' thighs.

15 Spring 2000 RTW Olive-green army jackets and fatigues were broken down and reconfigured to create flowing skirts and rumpled jackets with displaced shoulders. But at the heart of the collection was a series of shirts and dresses with unexpected abundance of texture and color.

16 Fall 2002 RTW You wouldn't normally associate Comme des Garçons with chic chignons—let alone the sound of Sinatra crooning "let's face the music and dance." But those were the classic elements in the background of a show that designer Rei Kawakubo described as "free knitting."

17 Fall 2002 RTW It was a long show. A lull could be felt, giving the audience time to ponder the poignant significance of Old Blue Eyes' lyrics ("there may be teardrops ahead"), but it was followed by a flurry of scribbling when a twisted, tufty raven's wing-colored fake fur coat and a leather-fronted double-breasted cardigan swung by.

18 Spring 2006 RTW Backstage, Rei Kawakubo shook her head and denied that the collection was about England, or Japanese tourist souvenirs of Britishness, or a romantic gesture of support for a city that has been subjected to bombings…

19 Spring 2006 RTW It looked like nothing so much as an homage to Vivienne Westwood's royal collections. Ringletted girls in crowns, wearing Union Jack-printed underwear and punkish tartans

20 Fall 2006 RTW The key to Rei Kawakubo's collection was, she said, thinking about "the persona—what's in front, and what's behind." In other words, she cut her clothes—and extraordinary Venice carnival masks—into a visual essay on the complexities of the disguises we construct to represent ourselves to the world. 

21 Fall 2006 RTW It made for an impressive performance that saw Kawakubo pulling something rich, romantic, and dramatically new out of the recognizable materials of her own past body of work. That in itself made for a satisfying spectacle, while the way the collection glancingly referenced current subjects—such as the tension between male and female relationships…

22 Spring 2012 RTW "White drama" was a precise summation of a show that felt like it tracked a progression through life's dramatic way stations: birth, marriage, death, transcendence.

23 Spring 2012 RTW Tradition drapes each of those moments in white and attaches distinct rituals to them, which set off some fascinating echoes in Kawakubo's all-white collection.

24 Fall 2012 RTW The trend guru Li Edelkoort once noted the disservice done fashion by online coverage, which reduces the work of designers to a sequence of head-to-toe front-on images that take little account of three-dimensionality.

25 Fall 2012 RTW If the fashion industry was happy with coverage that reduces its most elevated endeavors to two dimensions, then Rei was going to reduce the industry itself to an equally flat proposition.

26 Any Questions?

27 Citation Page Bodine, Sarah, and Diana Idzelis. "Fashion Encyclopedia." Rei Kawakubo. Advameg, Inc., Web. 18 Mar Banks, Tim. "Comme Des Garçons Fall 2012 Ready-to-Wear Collection on Runway Review." Conde Nast, 03 Mar Web. 18 Mar. 2013 Banks, Tim. "Comme Des Garçons Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Collection on Runway Review." Conde Nast, 01 Oct Web. 18 Mar "Comme Des Garçons." CONDE NAST, Web. 18 Mar. 2013 Limnander, Armand. "Comme Des Garçons Spring 2000 Ready-to-Wear Collection on Runway Review." Conde Nast, 05 Oct Web. 19 Mar Mower, Sarah. "Comme Des Garçons Fall 2006 Ready-to-Wear Collection on Runway Review." Conde Nast, 04 Mar Web. 19 Mar Mower, Sarah. "Comme Des Garçons Spring 2006 Ready-to-Wear Collection on Runway Review." Conde Nast, 04 Oct Web. 19 Mar Mower, Sarah. "Comme Des Garçons Fall 2002 Ready-to-Wear Collection on Runway Review." Conde Nast, 13 Mar Web. 19 Mar Newhouse, Ronnie C. "Rei Kawakubo - Page - Interview Magazine." Interview Magazine. Interview, n.d. Web. 18 Mar "Rei Kawakubo." - Voguepedia. Voguepedia, n.d. Web. 19 Mar "Rei Kawakubo, Fashion Designer." Rei Kawakubo Fashion Designer. Infomat Inc., Web. 18 Mar Fashion: Rei Kawakubo. Köln: Taschen, Print.

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