The Metropolitan Costume Institute's Spring Exhibition is always a big event in NYC. The opening of the show is celebrated with the Met Gala, and this show was unusual in that it celebrated a living artist Rei Kawakubo. I really enjoyed the show - go see it yourself! It is up until September 4th! Below is the Met's writeup on their website.
The Costume Institute's spring 2017 exhibition examines the work of fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. The thematic show features approximately 140 examples of Kawakubo's womenswear for Comme des Garçons dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection, many with heads and wigs created and styled by Julien d'Ys.
The galleries illustrate the designer's revolutionary experiments in "in-betweenness"—the space between boundaries. Objects are organized into nine aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo's work: Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Fashion/Anti-Fashion, 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.
Then/Now. "The right half of my brain likes tradition and history, the left wants to break the rules." Rei Kawakubo (2005)
Self/Other. "From the beginning, I dispensed with any preconceived notions about Western and Eastern social mores and cultures, as all these things are irrelevant to my world... I deliberately cast away all questions of upbringing, nationality, sociology and the like." Rei Kawakubo (2011)
Subsections of Self/Other are: East/West, Male/Female, Child/Adult.
Design/Not Design "I wasn't limited to the confines of a pattern. Not being educated, not being taught how to design, I was able to visualize in a completely different context. Add I still seem able to draw upon the unconventional. Rei Kawakubo (1993)
High/Low. "There is value in bad taste." Rei Kawakubo (2008)
Model/Multiple. "Fashion is not art. You sell art to one person. Fashion comes in a series and it is a more social phenomenon." Rei Kawakubo (1998)
Object/Subject. "I want to rethink the body, so the body and the dress become one." Rei Kawakubo (1997)
Fact/Fiction. "I remember reading about the way a novelist works. It said that he doesn't think up an outline and write from the top. He writes bits and pieces and puts them together at the end. That sounded familiar to me." Rei Kawakubo (2012)
Fashion/Antifashion. "I am not protesting against fashion. This is something else, another direction." Rei Kawakubo (1983)
Absence/Presence. "My clothes and the spaces they inhabit are inseparable - they are one and the same. They convey the same vision, the same message, and the same sense of values." Rei Kawabuko (2017)
War/Peace. "One cannot fight the battle without freedom. I think the best way to find that battle, which equals the unyielding spirit, is in the realm of creation." Rei Kawakubo (2010)