Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Robin Givhans, a fashion columnist I trust, recently wrote about Japanese designer, Rei Kawakubo. That's the only photo of Kawakubo I could find.

Not sure about the pronunciation, I Googled and learned that Kawakubo is, indeed, a major name in fashion -- a name I never heard of. A lot of people, I bet, have never heard of her, but Robin Givehans praised her to the skies.

(Hey, isn't success measured by people knowing who you are? That's why I'm face-booking and tweeting, and rather frequently mentioning my six romance novels, http://emilyfrankel.com.)

Since Robin Givhans says that Rei Kawakubo is one of today's most original talents, that she's received many awards, including an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London -- I am definitely paying attention to Kawakubo's art.

Kawakubo is the founder of Comme des Garçons, an avant-garde fashion line that has been making clothes for over 40 years. The label, Comme des Garçons, means ''like some boys." (To me, that suggests masculinity, a femininistic point of view, perhaps.)

Kawakubo and her husband, Adrian Joffe, operate the eclectic Dover Street Market in London, giving the Comme des Garçons company, (CDG), another way to burnish its avant-garde image and grow. In 2008 CDG had a turnover of $180 million.

All this was a preamble to my looking at Kawakubos outfits.

In 2009, the former White House social secretary, Desiree Rogers, arrived for the Obamas’ first state dinner wearing a gown (seen here), in which strands of pearls lay trapped between sheer netting and a pale peach tube. The dress was looked at by a D.C. columnist as a "rebellious snub of discretion, hierarchy and protocol." (Rogers left the White House shortly afterwards.)

During her Spring 2010 runway show, one of Kawakubo’s few comments on the collection was, “I’m an adult delinquent, to the end.”

These outfit were wildly applauded.

Her fall 2011 show featured gilded leather jackets, a coat with no front or back, and other unusual dresses, which she called “Hybrid Fashion.”

Are we, or aren't we seeing the model's naked right breast? I'm not sure. It could be a painted scarf?

A critic, raving about the show, said. "Kawakubo typically speaks in riddles wrapped in metaphors, and her clothes are like premonitions in boiled wool and nylon."

Kawakubo herself said, “Comme des Garcons can never, by its nature, appeal to everyone. It would be the end of CDG if it ever did.”

If you could have any of these outfits to wear, which one would YOU pick.

I'm kind of enthralled by the pink outfit. The front and back are the same.

If you arrived . at a party wearing it, no one could be sure if you were arriving or departing.

That's the way I feel about the art of Rei Kawakubo -- I am applauding and booing at the same time.


philosopop said...

The perfumes are absolutely magnificent! They have a more commercial line (you can find in all major European department stores -- Man 2, 888, Wonderwood ) ---- and there are the more experimental perfumes in the flagship store in Paris.// The runway fashion is but a wonderful spectacle to show the IDEAS of the brand, rather than fashion itself, which is the focus of the shops, with the more demure and controlled wearables.

Anonymous said...

I would have to buy them all, and mix and match. But seriously,
I am reminded somehow of the Emperor's new clothes.
To me, Kawakubo's designs are works of art.
Fashion is art. All a matter of opinion.
I feel bad for the young woman who turned up at the political dinner in what she probably thought was the most beautiful creation she'd ever worn, and then was shot down by some critic who called it a rebellious snub of discretion, hierarchy and protocol. And then left the White House shortly afterward.
But I guess critics have freedom of speech too.
Exvept that I think his phrasing was arrogant and elitist.
And he was criticising the designer of the clothing too.
Maybe the young woman made an error in judgement wearing an expensive, unusual designer dress. Or,maybe the designer gave her the dress in order to get some exposure of her design in the White House.
This is pure thinking out loud on my part, but I think there's an intriguing story there.
In any event, design is art. If you want to wear someone's art, wear it. Feel good about yourself and your first impressions of the dress or art. Because if you're wearing it on your back, or hanging it on your wall, be prepared for someone to come along and pop your balloon. The woods are crawling with critics.
Louise Sorensen
louise3anne twitter

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog. I do not care for this designer's clothes at all. Looks like hodge podge to me in design and character. I would not wear nor buy her clothes. Plus I don't see any Plus sizes-so I'm out of the picture. Thanks for sharing this. kam

http://www.twitter.com/brchitwood said...

I generally applaud. Some, however, leave me dithering.
Billy Ray

Anonymous said...

Like all fashion, this stage is the art stage. This is where you get to see the more artistic version of clothing than what you will ever see on the rack. Things to notice are color schemes, fabrics and shapes. The black Origami dress is my favorite. Fashion at its most fun!

Unknown said...

I sort of like the dark orange and pink whatever it is...coat? Dress?

In any event, none of it is in any way, my cup of tea. Maybe when I was 17 or so, I used to buy funky clothes in a store in the Village, called Etc..that sold their own designs, but even their clothes were tamer than this.

Anonymous said...

Julian Speed

Fashion is like the wind constantly blowing in different directions probably more so for women than men.

The pictures you posted remind me of clothing you would see in Harrods. I saw a dress put togethere by computer chips in Paris (Harrods)years back. As a guy it completely blew my mind. I cant imagine the amount of time and skill it took to put that togethere.

My wife is the fashion pro in our household and probably knows more names in the fashion biz than I think of lol.

These days especially in the US and many countries in Europe people wear what they want from sagging pants where you can see a person's underwear to God knows what else.

I'm a firm believer in self expression and freedom of speech but sometimes people take it too far. It disgusts me to see grown men in sagging pants with their underwear on display. Well the world is upside down so there you are.

Unknown said...

Hmm. THey're different I guess but a little more like fancy dress than fancy clothes. To me anyway but what do I know, I'm no fashionista. If it's art we're judging. Then they definitely have artistic flare :)

Peter Slidell said...

Em, if I told you what I though about that stuff, you'd know what a male chauvinist pig, blunt instrument I am... Good time to keep my mouth shut.


Gus said...

They can't fit me ladies, but they look gr8! :)!