Rei Kawakubo And The Met: What You Need To Know About This Year’s Met Gala

By Michelle Lee

What We Know About the Met Gala So Far

Every first Monday of May,  prestigious stars gather under the lights of the cameras creating an exclusive aura that attracts almost everyone. Celebrities ascend the iconic red velvet steps and are led into rooms that hold tantalizing and intricate works of art iconic in fashion’s history. To say the Met Gala is important is an understatement. Think of of it as The Super Bowl or the Oscars. Each year, the Anna Wintour Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum creates an exhibit that showcases a particular movement in fashion and celebrities come prepared in gowns, tailored suits and some even in works of art (such as Claire Danes in an iridescent Zac Posen gown at last year’s Gala).

This year’s theme is highly anticipated because it is dedicated to only one designer; a rare occasion last seen 34 years ago. Rei Kawakubo, the creative Japanese creative director and founder of Commes des Garçons and co-founder of the Dover Street Market, is the second designer to have her own exhibition, her predecessor being Yves Saint Laurent in 1983. The exhibit, Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons: The Art of the In-Between, recognizes Kawakubo’s long history in the fashion industry as an inventive and abstract designer in a world of homogeneity. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website describes the exhibition as an illustration of “the designer’s revolutionary experiments in “in-betweenness —the space between boundaries.” There will be 150 pieces of her work from the 1980s to her most recent collection and will divided into eight parts: Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Design/Not Design, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes. The pieces will also be eye level to the viewer with no barrier, allowing people to have interaction and connection with the clothes. The event will be co-chaired by Anna Wintour, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Tom Brady, and Gisele Bundchen with the honorary chair going to the designer herself.

The creation of Commes des Garçons (CDG) was an accident headed in the right direction. During Kawakubo’s time as a freelance stylist she started to create clothing of her own when there was a lack of pieces she could work with. Then in 1973, she created CGD and displayed her first collection in 1981 during Paris Fashion Week. From then on, she became known for taking a  conceptual step forward in fashion and straying away from the unexpected, a refreshing thought considering the ubiquitous trends seen recently. Andrew Bolton, curator for the Costume Institute, said of the exhibit and the designer, “Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past forty years. By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.”

The exhibition, which is sponsored by Condé Nast, Apple, Maison Valentino, Farfetch and H&M, will be open for view May 4 and will end September 4, 2017.

Brinley Knopf

Web Director. Foodie and writer.