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COMME des GARÇONS is French for ‘like the boys,’ and Rei Kawakubo chose the name just because she liked the way it sounds. Kawakubo established the house in Tokyo in 1973 and launched it to the West in 1981, when she showed her first collection in Paris and was among the avant-garde Japanese designers to introduce black as an everyday fashion staple – unthinkingly dubbed ‘Hiroshima Chic’ by some critics. A menswear line was launched in 1978 and a furniture line followed in 1982. Still remaining progressive today, Comme fragrances have played with tar, rubber and nail polish odours while retail projects have included short-term ‘guerilla’ stores in the backwater areas of unexpected cities through to London’s monolithic Dover Street Market. Collaboration highlights range from little polka dot Speedos to Louis Vuitton handbags with four times the normal amount of handles.


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