“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.