PHOTOGRAPHY SEBASTIAN FAENA
STYLIST JULIA VON BOEHM
IN A V EXCLUSIVE, DESIGN PIONEER AND INDUSTRY SAGE REI KAWAKUBO REVEALS THE THOUGHT PROCESS BEHIND HER FANTASTICAL SPRING COLLECTION
"AS A TECHNIQUE TO TRY TO DO SOMETHING NEW THIS TIME I ACTUALLY TRIED TO BE A DIFFERENT PERSON. I NEEDED TO CHANGE EVERYTHING THAT REFERRED TO ME. MY LIFE, MY WAY OF LIVING, MY VISION, AND MY WAY OF THINKING. EVEN THOUGH IT IS QUITE IMPOSSIBLE TO DO SO, I DID STRIVE TO BE A DIFFERENT ME FOR TWO MONTHS. AS ONE WAY TO TRY TO ACHIEVE THIS, I STARTED OUT WITH THE INTENTION NOT TO MAKE CLOTHES AS SUCH.
That Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo follows her own path has been clear since she made her Paris debut in 1981 with a collection critics described—and decried—as having a “bag lady” aesthetic (and was all the more provoking as it was markedly out of step with the cartoonish body-con mode of the times). Since then the fashion flock have come to hail her as an elusive design hero who continually challenges and surprises with boundary-pushing experimentation.
Among Kawakubo’s recent adventures is the redesign of her golden Comme des Garçons Chelsea more-than-store, which rethinks the luxury boutique and puts some art back into shopping. (Swing by to see these impressive dresses in person.) Call the clothes what you will—constructs, wearable sculpture—they are at once architectural and relate to the body, and to Kawakubo’s outstanding body of work.
Kawakubo continues to throw down the gauntlet, engaging us to talk about and categorize the sartorial, while cleverly never abandoning an appreciation for the resilient yet oh-so-fragile human form.
Makeup Maud Laceppe for NARS Cosmetics (Streeters) Hair Shay AshuaL (Tim Howard Management) Model Gigi Hadid (IMG)