While we’re all still recovering from the few outfit disasters we experienced post the MET Gala 2017, let’s take a minute to learn a few things about the designer who inspired the MET Ball this year. You probably haven’t heard much about Rei Kawakubo. The Japanese designer based out of Tokyo and Paris chooses to stay away from media, and let her designs speak for itself. Rei’s brainchild Comme des Garçons (meaning ‘like the boys’) was launched in 1969. Read on to know five things about Rei and the edgy fashion label that has gone ahead to redefine fashion like no other.
For the modern woman: Much like Chanel, Rei is known to have influenced modern fashion especially for women. Disassociating herself from the title ‘feminist’, Rei has admitted that her clothes do not have any underlying sociopolitical message. An ardent believer in expressing her personal definition of beauty, her collections are just a portrayal of her fashion aesthetic.
Trademarking black: Mostly seen dressed in black, Rei has also been lauded for her distinct unconventional ‘black looks’ using the word ‘strength’ to define colour. When awarding her an Excellence in Design award (2000), Harvard Graduate School of Design offered the rationale that “Rei invented black as a color”. We cannot disagree!
A mentor: With her unconventional design style and the fact that she has never been driven by economic gain, Rei has always believed in mentoring young designers. She also set them up with labels under the Comme des Garçons umbrella. One such protégé of the Comme Des Garçons label is Japanese fashion designer Junya Watanabe.
Inspiring designers : After fifty long years in an industry Rei hadn’t even academically prepared for, she is a great inspiration to several budding designers, especially women. She is a striking example of how talent always persists. Other than Comme des Garçons, Rei has successfully launched individual lines like Homme Comme des Garçons and stores like Dover Street Market.
Her vision range: Rei’s vision has inspired several vets in the industry like Karl Lagerfeld as well as aspiring and upcoming designers (read: Kanye West). While her collections have been praiseworthy, it’s also received a lot of flak from critics, both radical and political. This, though, has never hindered her from doing what she thinks is right.
Let’s admit it! The legacy of Rei Kuwakubo is here to stay and while we may spot several ‘ridiculous’ designs taking on the ramps today, we must give it to Rei for making even the ridiculous look conventionally sublime.