REI KAWAKUBO

The Kit - - THEKIT.CA -

Much is made of “the trends” these days— but few avoid them more than Rei Kawakubo, the 74-year- old founder of Comme des Garçons, who’s es­chewed what’s- now roundups and tra­di­tional re­tail pan­der­ing since day one. Her ul­tra- conceptual ap­proach to fash­ion (tra­di­tional of­fer­ings have in­cluded a pa­tent leather Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood get- up and a gath­ered du­vet-as- dress) means that Kawakubo’s name doesn’t roll off the tongue as of­ten as some of her con­tem­po­raries, but the beauty of her work is that it dis­man­tles the sin­gu­lar vi­sion of how a woman should dress, how a woman should de­sign and even how we de­fine a woman’s role in greater so­ci­ety (a wed­ding-es­que dress with the sleeves tied to­gether from her Spring 2012 col­lec­tion comes to mind). In fact, Kawakubo’s icon­o­clasm has spurred a gen­er­a­tion of fash­ion mis­fits—Martin Margiela, Hel­mut Lang and Ann De­meule­meester among them—who all cite her as a ma­jor in­flu­ence. Now, nearly 50 years into her ca­reer, the self-taught cre­ator will be only the sec­ond liv­ing de­signer (and first woman) to have a solo ex­hibit at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mu­seum of Art when it opens in May. We’re look­ing for­ward to a Met Gala red car­pet where a trad­tion­ally req­ui­site princess dress won’t be given a sec­ond look. —Jil­lian Vieira

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