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Met Gala 2017 Part I/II: Exhibit Overview

At The Met Fifth Avenue | Gallery 999
4 MAY–4 SEPTEMBER 2017

NEW YORK — The Costume Institute’s spring 2017 exhibition examines the work of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. The thematic show features 140 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear for Comme des Garçons dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection.

The galleries illustrate the designer’s revolutionary experiments in “in-betweenness”— the space between boundaries. Objects are organised into nine aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo’s work: Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes. Kawakubo breaks down the imaginary walls between these dualisms, exposing their artificiality and arbitrariness.

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969); Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Body Meets Dress–Dress Meets Body, spring/summer 1997; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Body Meets Dress–Dress Meets Body, spring/summer 1997; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Blood and Roses, spring/summer 2015; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Blue Witch, spring/summer 2016; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Blue Witch, spring/summer 2016; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). 18th-Century Punk, autumn/winter 2016–17; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). 18th-Century Punk, autumn/winter 2016–17; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Cubisme, spring/summer 2007; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Craig McDean

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). Inside Decoration, autumn/winter 2010–11; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Craig McDean

Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969). The Infinity of Tailoring, autumn/winter 2013–14; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Collier Schorr

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