There’s a peculiar sense of semblance between American Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Japanese designer and creative director of Comme des Garçons Rei Kawakubo — and, we aren’t talking about their bob hairdo with fringes but their huge influence in the world of fashion.
No wonder, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual theme for its Costume Institute exhibition and Met Gala in 2017 was “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons.”
What makes Rei the most influential designers of her time?
It was Rei who once quoted saying “I make clothes for a woman who is not swayed by what her husband thinks,” and that defines her headstrong approach towards the way she dressed women. Her label Comme des Garçons which means ‘dress like boys’ in French was founded in the year 1969 and is based in Tokyo and Paris.
Rei opened her first boutique in Tokyo in 1975, and accordingly to an article published in April 2017 Business of Fashion the brand’s annual revenue for CDG and its affiliates is “over $280 million a year.”
In the 1980’s when Rei made her debut at the Paris fashion show, her unlikely choice of dark colour palette and edgy designs was called as the ‘Hiroshima chic’ by the French press. Before pop star Rihanna’s avant-garde ensemble from CDG at MET gala 2017 red carpet got famous, a lot of other A-list celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake have also been spotted previously in the brand.
Rei’s brand Comme des Garçons has also been in news for collaborations with various other labels like Fred Perry, Levi’s Converse All Star, Speedo, Nike, Moncler, Lacoste, Cutler and Gross, Chrome Hearts, Hammerthor, S. N. S. Herning, Louis Vuitton, Supreme, and many others. In the Fall of 2008, CDG collaborated with H&M as a “guest designer” and designed a range of men’s and women’s clothing along with some children’s and a unisex perfume.
Some Interesting Facts about Rei Kawakubo:
- Date of birth: 11 October 1942, Tokyo
- Married to: Adrian Joffe, the current CEO of Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market.
- Studied: fine arts and literature at Keio University
- Published: A bi-annual magazine, ‘Six’ (standing for ‘sixth sense’), in the early 1990
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Though she studied art and literature at Keio University, she never went to fashion school.