Let the countdown begin! On Friday, October 21, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the theme of the Costume Institute’s Spring 2017 exhibition and gala: Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo, the founder of Comme des Garçons. The annual dinner and concert, which attracts the best-dressed celebrities, will take place inside the Met on May 1, 2017, and will be cochaired by Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and the 74-year-old honored designer.
“Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years,” said Andrew Bolton, the institute’s lead curator, in a release from the Met. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.”
The exhibition is set to feature 120 women’s pieces designed by Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons, from her first Parisian fashion show for the label in 1981 to her most recent collection. According to the release, the styles won’t be organized by date but by theme, including the shared space between East and West, male and female, and past and present.
And it’s not just the theme that’s pushing boundaries — it’s the setup too. “Mannequins will be arranged at eye level with no physical barriers, thereby dissolving the usual distance between objects on display and museum visitors,” the release explained.
“I have always pursued a new way of thinking about design … by denying established values, conventions and what is generally accepted as the norm,” Kawakubo added in the release. “And the modes of expression that have always been most important to me are fusion … imbalance … unfinished … elimination … and absence of intent.”
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