Save The Date: “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Exhibition Dates: May 4–September 4, 2017

Member Previews: May 2–May 3, 2017

Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, Floor 2

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute spring 2017 exhibition, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, on view from May 4 through September 4, will examine Kawakubo’s fascination with the space between boundaries. This in-between space is revealed in Kawakubo’s work as an aesthetic sensibility, establishing an unsettling zone of oscillating visual ambiguity that challenges conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. Not a traditional retrospective, this thematic exhibition will be The Costume Institute’s first monographic show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.

9

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

7

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

In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director of The Met. “Curator Andrew Bolton will explore work that often looks like sculpture in an exhibition that will challenge our ideas about fashion’s role in contemporary culture.”

10

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

The exhibition will feature approximately 150 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons, dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection. Objects will be organized into eight dominant and recurring aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo’s work: Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Design/Not Design, 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. Her fashions demonstrate that interstices are places of meaningful connection and coexistence as well as revolutionary innovation and transformation, providing Kawakubo with endless possibilities to rethink the female body and feminine identity.

2

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

Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time. Continue reading

Costume Institute’s Spring 2017 Exhibition at The Met to Focus on Rei Kawakubo and the “Art of the In-Between”

Costume Institute Benefit on May 1 with Co-Chairs Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, and Anna Wintour; and Honorary Chair Rei Kawakubo

Exhibition Dates: May 4–September 4, 2017

Member Previews: May 2–May 3, 2017

Exhibition Location: The Met Fifth Avenue, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, Floor 2

As expected (and the most gossiped-about morsel of news during the European leg of the Spring/Summer 2017 womenswear fashion shows), The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that The Costume Institute’s Spring 2017 exhibition will be Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons, on view from May 4 through September 4, 2017 (preceded on May 1 by The Costume Institute Benefit). Presented in the Museum’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall on the second floor, the exhibition will examine Kawakubo’s fascination with interstitiality, or the space between boundaries. Existing within and between entities—self/other, object/subject, fashion/anti-fashion—Kawakubo’s work challenges conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and, ultimately, fashionability. Not a traditional retrospective, the thematic exhibition will be The Costume Institute’s first monographic show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.

f1ce33ef-6b0c-49fe-9afd-9f1c1b8a5f15

Image: Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), “Body Meets Dress – Dress Meets Body,” spring/summer 1997. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, © Paolo Roversi

In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Met. “Curator Andrew Bolton will explore work that often looks like sculpture in an exhibition that will challenge our ideas about fashion’s role in contemporary culture.”

Rei Kawakubo said, “I have always pursued a new way of thinking about design…by denying established values, conventions, and what is generally accepted as the norm. And the modes of expression that have always been most important to me are fusion…imbalance… unfinished… elimination…and absence of intent.

The exhibition will be curated by Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, who will collaborate on the exhibition design with Rei Kawakubo. Nathan Crowley will serve as exhibition production designer for the fifth time, working in collaboration with The Met’s Design Department.

02-bodymeetsdress-dressmeetsbodyspring1997

2. Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), “Body Meets Dress – Dress Meets Body,” spring/summer 1997. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, © Paolo Roversi

The exhibition will feature approximately 120 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons, dating from her first Paris runway show in 1981 to her most recent collection. Organized thematically rather than chronologically, the examples will examine Kawakubo’s revolutionary experiments in interstitiality or “in-betweenness”. By situating her designs within and between dualities such as East/West, male/female, and past/present, Kawakubo not only challenges the rigidity and artificiality of such binaries, but also resolves and dissolves them. To reflect this, mannequins will be arranged at eye level with no physical barriers, thereby dissolving the usual distance between objects on display and museum visitors.

Anna Cleveland

3. Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), “Blue Witch,” spring/summer 2016 Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, © Paolo Roversi

Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.”

04-notmakingclothingspring2014

4. Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), “Not Making Clothing,” spring/summer 2014. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, © Paolo Roversi

In celebration of the opening, The Met‘s Costume Institute Benefit, also known as The Met Gala, will take place on Monday, May 1, 2017. The evening’s co-chairs will be Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, and Anna Wintour. Rei Kawakubo will serve as Honorary Chair. Raul Avila will produce the gala décor, which he has done since 2007. The event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements.met-logo

Special support for the exhibition and gala will come from Apple, Condé Nast, Farfetch, H&M, and Maison Valentino.

A publication, authored by Bolton and designed by Fabien Baron, will accompany the exhibition. It will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

A special feature on the Museum’s website, www.metmuseum.org/ReiKawakubo, provides information about the exhibition. Follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to join the conversation about the exhibition and gala. Use #MetKawakubo, #CostumeInstitute, and #MetGala on Instagram and Twitter.

Trend-ology: New Exhibition to Open at The Museum at FIT

Fashion & Textile History Gallery at The Museum at FIT

December 3, 2013 – April 30, 2014

The Museum at FIT will present Trend-ology, a new exhibition that examines the sources from which fashion trends have emerged over the past 250 years. Themes highlighted include 18th-century court dress, the rise of the couturier in 19th-century Paris, hip hop fashion, and more recent developments related to blogging, fast fashion, and social-media networking. Featuring approximately 100 objects from the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition will also highlight industry developments that have had an impact on how trends propagate. The show features designs by Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Rei Kawakubo, Jean Paul Gaultier, Helmut Lang, Martin Margiela, and Opening Ceremony, to name a few. Also on view is a video produced exclusively for Trend-ology, featuring interviews with fashion insiders Simon Doonan, Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony and Kenzo, Saul Lopez Silva of WGSN, and many others.

(left) Rodarte, evening dress, black and nude net, wool, black leather, beads, cheese cloth, and metal gauze, spring 2010, USA, museum purchase, (right) Rodarte for Target, evening dress, polyester crepe chiffon, 2009, USA, gift of The Fashion and Textile Studies Department and the School of Graduate Studies

(left) Rodarte, evening dress, black and nude net, wool, black leather, beads, cheese cloth, and metal gauze, spring 2010, USA, museum purchase, (right) Rodarte for Target, evening dress, polyester crepe chiffon, 2009, USA, gift of The Fashion and Textile Studies Department and the School of Graduate Studies

Fashion trends change every season, with shifts in print, color, material, embellishment, and silhouette. These derive from a variety of sources, including urban street style, art, music, film, and socio-political movements. The word “trend” first arose as an economic term used to describe shifts in financial markets. Today, the word is ubiquitous in the fashion media, and trend forecasting companies have made researching and predicting trends a profitable business.

Yet, as we move further into the 21st century, specific trends seem increasingly hard to define. The advent of fast fashion, the internet, and social media have created a quick-paced global environment in which fashion trends emerge and spread in faster and more complex ways than ever before. By looking back at the history of trends, Trend-ology aims to help viewers gain insight into the current state of the trend cycle.

Louis Vuitton (Takashi Murakami), “Speedy 30” monogram handbag, multicolor monogram canvas, 2003, France, museum purchase

Louis Vuitton (Takashi Murakami), “Speedy 30” monogram handbag, multicolor monogram canvas, 2003, France, museum purchase

Trend-ology will open with an overview of 21st-century developments in fashion retailing. These will include examples from fast-fashion companies, such as Zara, H&M, and Topshop, that have contributed to the increasing fascination–and anxiety–surrounding trends. High-low collaborations, including a “Rodarte for Target” sequined dress from 2009, will be juxtaposed with high fashion designs–in this case, a runway piece from Rodarte’s spring 2010 collection. A selection of “It” bags, including a Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 bag designed in collaboration with Japanese artist Takeshi Murakami, will illustrate how important the sale of accessories has become to luxury brands during the new millennium. To highlight the recent emergence of concept stores, the introductory section will culminate with ensembles from Opening Ceremony and Colette.

The exhibition’s historical chronology will begin with two 18th-century ensembles, one for a man and the other for a woman, rendered in vibrant shades of yellow. Once negatively associated with “heretics,” yellow became a trendy color in 18th-century dress. The change in yellow’s cultural meaning can be traced to the growing popularity in Europe of chinoiserie. In China, yellow was an auspicious color associated with the emperor.

(left) Dress, yellow silk faille, circa 1770, USA (possibly), museum purchase, (right) Men’s coat, yellow silk, circa 1790,  USA (possibly), museum purchase

(left) Dress, yellow silk faille, circa 1770, USA (possibly), museum purchase, (right) Men’s coat, yellow silk, circa 1790, USA (possibly), museum purchase

(left) Dress, yellow silk faille, circa 1770, USA (possibly), museum purchase, (right) Men’s coat, yellow silk, circa 1790,  USA (possibly), museum purchase

(left) Dress, yellow silk faille, circa 1770, USA (possibly), museum purchase, (right) Men’s coat, yellow silk, circa 1790, USA (possibly), museum purchase

Dress, tartan silk, circa 1812, Scotland, museum purchase

Dress, tartan silk, circa 1812, Scotland, museum purchase

A selection of tartan dresses will show a recurring international trend for tartan dress that emerged during the 19th century from the widespread popularity of Sir Walter Scott’s Scottish-themed novels.

Starting in the mid-19th century, the pace of the trend cycle was accelerated by certain capitalist developments, such as the emergence of the couture house and the subsequent rise of the department store. These developments will be addressed in Trend-ology with a dress, circa 1883, by couturier Charles Fredrick Worth shown alongside an ensemble from Lord & Taylor, circa 1895, and a Lord & Taylor mail-order catalogue from the same period. Continue reading