rei kawakubo makes a stealth appearance at balenciaga fall/winter 17

The Comme des Garçons visionary attended the Spanish house’s Paris show with her husband, Adrian Joffe, this afternoon.

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Jan 18 2017, 10:43pm

If you're reading this, you already know just how rare a public appearance by "genius fashion dictator" — as her super fan, cult director John Waters, once called her — Rei Kawakubo is. The Japanese anti-fashion force behind Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market hasn't posed for a portrait since 2004, never takes a finale bow at her own fashion shows, and even sent Waters to accept her CFDA Award in 2012. But she's not a complete recluse.

Last year, attendees of Gosha Rubchinskiy's fall/winter 16 show arrived to find the icon sitting in the Russian wunderkind's front row. This afternoon in Paris, she and husband Adrian Joffe were feeling Balenciaga's Bern in the second row at Demna Gvasalia's sophomore menswear outing as head of the Spanish house.

Although Kawakubo's presence at Rubchinskiy's show was very well documented on social media (according to Vogue, attendees snapped their stories with "the evangelical vigor of a religious group that had just seen their god"), her Balenciaga appearance was a bit more under the radar. This show-goer took a picture of Balenciaga's Bernie Sanders jacket, and so happened to get Rei in the frame.

Though a Kawakubo spotting is itself a shock, it isn't surprising that she'd choose to emerge for Gvasalia or Rubchinskiy's shows. Dover Street Market doesn't simply carry both brands, Gosha falls under Comme des Garçons production and distribution umbrella. Gvasalia's Vetements collective recently collaborated with Comme on a series of queer and fetish-inspired sweaters. Hope somebody saved one for Waters.

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Text Emily Manning