Collecting Comme

Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons is one of the most visionary and influential fashion designers working today.

Since the late 1970s, her intent has always been ‘to make clothes that didn’t exist before’ and she has consistently defied convention to redefine fashion.

Season after season, Kawakubo’s designs have ‘deconstructed’ garment shape and function, reframed ideas of beauty, and proposed a new relationship between body and dress.

Collecting Comme examines the radical concepts and design methods that have informed Kawakubo’s practice since 1981, the year she first presented in Paris.

Featuring more than fifty examples drawn from the NGV’s significant Comme des Garçons holdings, generously gifted to the Gallery by Takamasa Takahashi, and supported by additional loans from his archive, the exhibition highlights key collections and recurrent themes in Kawakubo’s work. The designs of two of her protégés, Junya Watanabe and Tao Kurihara also feature.

A self-described ‘Comme tragic’, Takahashi’s profound appreciation of Kawakubo’s work permeates this exhibition, which considers the originality of Comme des Garçons’ contribution to contemporary fashion.