everything we know about the met’s comme des garçons show

Rei Kawakubo was present and silent at the press conference for Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.

by Wendy Syfret and Isabelle Hellyer
07 March 2017, 12:17am

Yesterday the Met hosted their first news conference at on the Place Vendôme in Paris to discuss this year's exhibition, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between. The icon herself, the first living designer to serve as the Met ball's subject since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983, was there — silent and stoic as always.

Curator in charge of the Costume Institute Andrew Bolton led the conversation, explaining the show will be divided along binary lines. The sections will be: fashion/anti-fashion, design/not design, model/multiple, then/now, high/low, self/other, object/subject and clothes/not clothes. He reasoned this was a response to Kawakubo's ability to break down "the false walls of these dualisms, exposing their artificiality and arbitrariness."

Although the presentation won't follow a traditional timeline, or serve as a historical survey of her career, it will showcase 150 defining pieces from the first days of Comme des Garçons to now. Bolton observed Kawakubo's non-linear approach has presented some curatorial challenges: "Rei does not like her clothes to be defined or explained; she likes her work to be experienced and interpreted….It was a huge learning curve for me as a curator, because we love explaining, but I had to hold back and just let the clothes exist in a space and be interpreted on a subjective level." He went on to praise her ability to blur the line between fashion and commerce, observing: "If, as Andy Warhol proposed, 'Business art is the step after art,' Rei is his fashion manifestation."

Bolton was joined by Anna Wintour, a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who admitted that despite literally putting on the show, she had few insights into the illusive subject's mind or motivation. "Who knows why Rei Kawakubo says yes or no?" she commented to the New York Times.

The show will open on the first Monday in May, as is tradition, and run for four months. Since Comme des Garçons was announced as this year's theme in August, two or three times the normal number of people have requested tickets — but the brand have stuck to the usual allotment of 300 spots. We can't imagine Rei Kawakubo is one for making a fuss. 

Anna Wintour
The Met
fashion news
Comme des Garçons
Rei Kawakubo
the metropolitan museum of art
andrew bolton
art of the in-between
rei kawakubo/comme des garçons: art of the in-between