Mind-​blowing vanguard

What is your philo­sophy in life?”


What is the defin­i­tion of beauty?”

Beauty is any­thing that appeared to be beau­ti­ful for some­body,” (extract from an inter­view with Rei Kawakubo)

At this point I am going to touch on a little bit of fash­ion design and present a world fam­ous brand Comme des Garçons which is known from 1973. The reason why Rei Kawakubo amazes every­one is that she didn’t set a limit to design clothes and accessor­ies only – she’s fam­ous for her graphic design, advert­ise­ments and shop interi­ors. Rei Kawakubo claims that all of this is essen­tial and con­cur­rent with her gen­eral vis­ion of design.

Collection called Comme des Garçons was showed in 1973 (French phrase comme des gar­cons lit­er­ally means “like boys” – as the author says, she picked the best sound­ing name) and shocked not only Japan but also all the rest of the world. This col­lec­tion and move­ment was some­thing com­pletely fresh in a world of fash­ion. Anti-​fashion ideas, shock­ing pale col­ours, pre­dom­in­ance of black and its shades, asym­met­rical style and destruct­ive mod­els, not emphas­iz­ing a female’s form but dis­tort­ing it, caused global con­cern. In the year of 1981, in Paris, an exhib­i­tion to the Western World was intro­duced: black was high­lighted as the only col­our worth pay­ing atten­tion at and soon got the sig­na­ture of Japanese van­guard. Collection caused a lot of cri­ti­cism and became the main­stream topic in conversations.

Rei Kawakubo gradu­ated in arts and lit­er­at­ure at Tokyo University — she didn’t used to study fash­ion. Later on she worked at textile’s com­pany and was respons­ible for advert­ise­ment. Because of the lack of fab­rics and clothes fit­ting her taste she star­ted design­ing them on her own. Finally, she star­ted work­ing as a styl­ist and estab­lished her own enterprise.

Avant-​garde artist from Japan still leaves an impres­sion. Each Comme des Garçons shop is dis­tin­guished for its unique design. Main branches are loc­ated in Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, New York and London. The pic­ture below shows a frag­ment of a shop in Tokyo which is made from glass dec­or­ated with blue circles. This design provides space with unique atmo­sphere; London has red interior accents emphasized.

Shops opened only for a short time in vari­ous coun­tries and in unknown regions is another excit­ing pro­ject. Shabby build­ings situ­ated in unap­peal­ing parts are picked and ingeni­ous interi­ors requir­ing as little resources as pos­sible are cre­ated there. In most cases these shops are not pro­moted. This concept inspired other sym­path­etic design­ers to set up places oppos­ing pop­ular­ity, opu­lence and glit­ter­ing world of fashion.

Comme des Garçons presents col­lec­tions in non­stand­ard and simply mind-​blowing ways – the­at­rical cos­tumes, mis­match­ing col­ours, stony-​faced mod­els remind­ing mimes and frag­ments of 1970’s music cre­ate show which is par­tic­u­larly alike to sur­real­istic performances.

Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
About author:
Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
Gintare Zitkeviciute is Art Pit’s thinker and doer. In her work practise, she values lean approach, creativity and quick decisions. She doesn't like working with random people and thinks that a team is a heart of successful project. For that reason, she carefully picks people she works with on everyday basis. She is mostly interested in innovatio... Read further >
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