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Costume Institute to focus on Rei Kawakubo for Spring 2017 exhibition

She is the second living designer to be celebrated by The Metropolitan Museum of Art since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983

By Verinia Khoo | Published: 24 Oct 2016

Kawakubo at The Met
Comme des Garçons AW16 (Photo: Imaxtree.com)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that its new theme for the 2017 Costume Institute exhibition is Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons. It marks the first time a single living designer is headlining the exhibition since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983.

The exhibit, which runs from 4 May through 4 September 2017, will feature about 120 womenswear designs by Kawakubo, ranging from pieces from her first Paris show in 1981 to her most recent collections.

"In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing," said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Met, in a statement. "Curator Andrew Bolton will explore work that often looks like sculpture in an exhibition that will challenge our ideas about fashion's role in contemporary culture."

Unlike most of the Met Museum's previous exhibitions, there won't be any glass barriers separating you from the display at the upcoming one, allowing you an up close and personal look at Kawakubo's work. Her creative direction at Comme des Garçons often involves larger than life proportions, which disregard any conventional idea of style and tailoring. As far as avant garde is concerned, Kawakubo is the woman to look to.

"Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years," said Andrew. "By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time."

The Met Gala, one of fashion's most highly-anticipated annual events, will be held on 1 May 2017. Kawakubo will serve as honorary chair, while Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and Anna Wintour will be co-chairs.


Related: Rei Kawakubo reveals why she may be the last of the true iconoclasts
Related: Comme des Garçons AW16


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