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Met Gala confirms Commes des Garçons's Rei Kawakubo as theme for next year

By Sara Ehlers

Nov 2, 2016


Due to its status as an one of the most elite fashion events, the Met Gala’s theme is carefully thought-out and premeditated in months in advance. For fashion industry insiders and Hollywood guests alike that attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the gala every year, the upcoming theme has been officially confirmed as designer Rei Kawakubo.

In the fashion industry, Kawakubo’s influence and impact is renown. Currently, Kawakubo is the creative director and founder for Commes des Garçons, an “anti-fashion,” austere label. Translated from French to mean “Like Boys,” she founded the company in Tokyo in 1973. Also, Kawakubo owns Dover Street Market, a retail experience she created that is currently rooted in London. Due to her mass experience in the industry , it seems fitting that she is this year’s subject for the anticipated fashion event.

“Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past forty years,” Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute’s curator in charge, told Vogue.com. The exhibit will feature approximately 120 Commes des Garçons designs by Kawakubo, according to the Met Museum’s website. The pieces will span from her oldest collections up until her newest designs.

The Met Gala highlights a living designer for the first time in 30 years

In showcasing Kawakubo’s work, her pieces include both aesthetic excellence and cultural impact. “The Costume Institute's spring 2017 exhibition will examine 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 Met states on its website of her upcoming exhibition. The galleries will highlight the designer’s “in-betweenness” and space in between boundaries through her designs. The mannequins for her gallery will also be arranged at eye level with no physical barriers in order to provide a unique experience for guests.

This will be the first time that the Met Gala has highlighted one living designer since 1983. In that year, the gala focused on designer Yves Saint Laurent. Kawakubo has earned her status as a fashion mogul through her creative inventiveness, her success in the industry, and her continuous efforts in ready-to-wear fashion. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time,” Bolton commented to Vogue.

Last year, the Met Gala had a less human-focused theme with “Manus x Machina” as the dress code for the night. The theme stood to represent the infusion of both fashion and technology. Other recent exhibitions include Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” and China: Through the Looking Glass.”

The Costume Institute Benefit will take place in New York on May 1. The co-chairs of the event will include the honorary guest of the night, Kawakubo, as well as Anna Wintour, Pharrell Williams, and Katy Perry.

Photos: The Met / Commes des Garçons

Rei Kawakubo