Glass reviews Rei Kawakubo/Comme Des Garçons: Art of the In-Between book

GROUNDBREAKING. Enigmatic. Challenging. Loved. Rei Kawakubo would hate to be called a creative icon but there are few that will ever come close to her highly influential body of work. Her brand, Comme des Garçons (fondly known as “‘Comme”’ by her legions of fans) exists in a nebula between, rather than within, the orbit of fashion’s many planets. Her collections are notoriously difficult to predict, save that they will inevitably challenge conventional aesthetic boundaries.

Rei Catalogue Cover Credit Jake Melrose

The cover of the book

She is a true pioneer and for many, the last great designer – her dedication to her craft is evident in the rare moments she lowers her guard,: “There is always a sense of crisis,” she confesses, “ The fear of not knowing how much longer I will be able to continue to create. Once I’ve made something, I don’t want to do it again, so the breadth of possibility is becoming smaller.”

Her more than 40-year rule as the doyenne of avant-garde fashion is documented here in stunning style, accompanying the much-praised Costume Institute exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York on show this year until September (May 4 – September 4, 2017).

18th Century Punk ,Autumn 2016, Rei Kawakubo - Comme des Garçons - Art of the In-Between

Image from the book
Much like the exhibition, the book explores her work in nine sections –  Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes – and how she transcends these categories with her inspiring creations.
Body Meets Dress - Dress Meets Body, Spring 1997, Rei Kawakubo - Comme des Garçons - Art of the In-Between
Image from the book
The incisive text (including a fascinating conversational interview with Kawakubo) from the current head curator of the Met’s Costume Institute, Andrew Bolton and wonderful priceless images from key collections (including monochrome classics from Arthur Elgort, Peter Lindbergh and Hans Feurer shot in 1983), all printed on the most beautiful uncoated paper make this the first essential Glass pick of the year.
by Ethan Long