In 1967, a Japanese designer named Rei Kawakubo made her way into the fashion industry by taking a job in a textile factory. Rei then became a freelance stylist, and in just two years Rei began making clothes under the label Comme De Garcons, and at 73 years of age today, she is now the creative director of the fashion house. With her signature black hair-bob, black sunglasses and black asymmetrical loose fitting clothes, her image is the goth version of Anna Wintour. Rei’s designs and her attention to detail has made many heads turn in the fashion world; inspiring such designers as Ann Demeulemester and Helmut Lang (to name a few.)
In 1990, Rei had her own magazine that came out annually titled “Six” (standing for sixth sense) the magazine featured very little text and consisted mainly of photographs and images that she deemed inspiring. In her 1997 Comme de Garcons collection titled “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body,” was an exploration into the way in which clothing can transform the human body, constructed with patterns that reminisce a more innocent vulnerable era in fashion history. Cinematically, these aesthetics can be traced back to Judy Garland’s character Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz” the simplicity and innocence that a plaid-pattern in the 1930’s-40’s embodied; However, Rei’s translation of this simple pattern took our imagination much further in manipulating and giving these patterns an edge and almost a third dimensional feel.
Frankly, it is quite difficult to express intricate architectural fashion and the only way I can approach this topic is by simply saying- Art is Fashion and Fashion is Art, there’s Impressionist and there’s Surrealist. Impressionism in fashion would translate as your everyday ready to wear marketable pieces. Surrealism on the other hand, are those designs that dare to be different, garments with a more architectural approach in design often described as avant-garde, pieces which rarely partake in the latest trends as their detail and execution alone are enough to exude character. Rei Kawakubo for Comme De Garcons, is certainly the Surrealist in the fashion world, although, Rei is well known to be reclusive and media shy, the designer prefers her motif to speak for itself. It is no secret that Rei Kawakubo approaches fashion with a graphic eye -“I just decided to make a company built around creation, and with creation as my sword, I could fight the battles I wanted to fight.”- Rei Kawakubo is a one of a kind Artist.