Rei Kawakubo : Une fille pas Comme des Garçons
Rei Kawakubo
Une fille pas Comme des Garçons
Betts Kate, July 16, 2018
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Boutique_New York
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Boutique_New York


'What I do is not influenced by what has happened in fashion or culture. I work from obscure abstract images to create a fresh concept of beauty'.

Rei Kawakubo is among the most respected and unconventional designers in contemporary fashion. As the driving force behind Comme des Garcons, she has continually challenged current ideals of body shape, garment construction and use of colour. Refusing to conform to conventional notions of beauty, Kawakubo creates her own statements through radical silhouette and structure. In doing so, she is credited with revolutionising fashion.

Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus


Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus


Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Ready-to-wear Winter 07-08
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Ready-to-wear Winter 07-08


Born in Tokyo in 1942, she studied literature and philosophy at the prestigious Keio University in her native Tokyo before working as a stylist, but was never formally trained in fashion design or 'clothes making' as she prefers to call it. Commes des Garcons was founded in 1969 as a way to supplement her income (and a men's line was added in 1978), but it wasn't until 1981 that she sprang to fame with her first Paris presentation. A shock to the West at that time, Kawakubo's approach directly challenged the era's fixation with a commercially-conceived expression of glamour. The 1981 collection was dubbed 'Hiroshima chic' for its domination of black.

Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Ready-to-wear Winter 07-08
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Ready-to-wear Winter 07-08


Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Ready-to-wear Winter 07-08
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Ready-to-wear Winter 07-08


Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus Ready-to-wear 07-08
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus Ready-to-wear 07-08


Rei likes to have input in all the various aspects of her business. Rather than just focussing on clothes and accessories. She is greatly involved in graphic design, advertising and shop interiors believing that all these things are a part of one vision and are inextricably linked. Her Aoyama, Tokyo store is known for it’s sloping glass facade decorated with little blue dots. This was designed in collaboration between Rei and a Japanese architect. Rei published her own bi-annual magazine, ‘Six’ (standing for ’sixth sense’), in the early 1990s. It featured very little text and consisted mainly for photographs and images that she deemed inspiring. In 1996 Rei was guest editor of Visionaire magazine.

Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus Ready-to-wear 07-08
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus Ready-to-wear 07-08


Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus Ready-to-wear 07-08
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus Ready-to-wear 07-08


Rei Kawakubo_Joshua Jordan
Rei Kawakubo_Joshua Jordan


Her output is frequently described as 'anti-fashion' or 'art', owing to Kawakubo's conceptual and intellectual rigour, but this cerebral methodology hasn't stopped her building one of the biggest independent fashion empires where she not only enjoys complete artistic freedom, but also significant financial success. Rei is known to be quite reclusive and media shy, preferring her innovative creations to speak for themselves. Being a student of Philosophy in the University of Tokyo, you can see her application of philosophy in her designs.

Rei Kawakubo_Dieulot
Rei Kawakubo_Dieulot


Rei Kawakubo_Dieulot
Rei Kawakubo_Dieulot


Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus


Kawakubo's designs continue to inspire younger generations of designers including Martin Margiela, Helmut Lang and Ann Demeulemeester, while former apprentice Junya Wanatabe's stellar practice burgeons from within the Comme des Garcons domain. Kawakubo opened Dover Street Market, her first London store in October 2004, in which she curates various labels of her own personal choosing, and is currently involved in setting up temporary 'guerilla' stores in various cities around the world.

Rei Kawakubo_DSM
Rei Kawakubo_DSM


Rei Kawakubo_DSM
Rei Kawakubo_DSM


Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus


Kawakubo won the Mainichi Fashion Grand Prize in 1983 and was honored by the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1987 as one of the leading women in 20th-century design. Since her appearance in the Japanese fashion, she brings true reflexion on this one: she does not create clothing, she thinks them.

Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Ready-to-wear Winter 07-08
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Ready-to-wear Winter 07-08


Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons Plus


Rei Kawakubo_Series Limited
Rei Kawakubo_Series Limited


Rei Kawakubo_Series Limited
Rei Kawakubo_Series Limited


Today Kawakubo presides over a multimillion-dollar privately held company with both commercial and fashion-forward lines for men and women, a perfume license with Puig and a new joint venture with Fred Perry. She also collaborates with Vivienne Westwood on a collection sold exclusively in Tokyo.

Rei Kawakubo_Series Limited
Rei Kawakubo_Series Limited


Rei Kawakubo_Future Systems_Bleu Aoyama
Rei Kawakubo_Future Systems_Bleu Aoyama


Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons
Rei Kawakubo_Comme des Garçons


www.doverstreetmarket.com