When we think of Comme des GarÃ§ons, the first thing that comes to mind is the iconic heart-shaped logo in one of its clothing lines: Comme des GarÃ§ons Play. But if that’s the only thing you know about the brand, you’re missing out on the interesting stories behind this hugely successful fashion brand.
The legacy of Comme des GarÃ§ons began in 1969, when it was founded by Rei Kawakubo. Despite the fact that the brand was founded in Tokyo, its name was borrowed from a song recorded seven years before its premiere – “All the Boys and Girls”, written by French artist FranÃ§oise Hardy. Meaning “like some boys” in French, the brand focused on scrambling gender norms long before androgynous fashion took center stage in the sartorial world.
# 1 Kawakubo, the founder of Comme des GarÃ§ons, did not graduate from a fashion school
A graduate of Fine Arts and Literature from Keio University, Kawakubo actually started her job in the advertising department of a textile company. Later, she found her passion in fashion and gradually entered the industry as a freelance stylist. Despite the lack of proper training for a career as a fashion designer, the passion has taken Kawakubo far, as she is now the famous founder and creative director of Comme des GarÃ§ons.
# 2 Kawakubo doesn’t make clothes – she does works of art
Known for her imaginative and totally original approach, the Japanese designer has always let her abstract creations speak for themselves. When it comes to her collections, she doesn’t offer alternative silhouettes – on the contrary, she completely reconstructs the way we interpret clothing, resulting in avant-garde designs that exist somewhere between fine art and clothing. .
# 2 Comme des GarÃ§ons is the first Japanese fashion brand to present at the Paris Fashion Show
For decades, Kawakubo’s pioneering spirit and unique designs have endured, leading the brand to achieve its coveted status over time. In 1981, the first Comme des GarÃ§ons fashion show was held in Paris, and this is how the Japanese designer became known internationally. It also marks the first Japanese brand at the Paris fashion show.
# 4 Comme des GarÃ§ons’ first collection was somewhat controversial and called “the black crows”
With its exaggerated silhouettes and usual dark color palettes, many newspapers and magazines have called Comme des GarÃ§ons ‘the black crows’. While Kawakubo tries to challenge the fashion industry, she tends not to feature wearable pieces in her runway shows. Instead, she reinvents them with her endless innovation and creativity. Although it was very controversial at first, the brand was later seen as uncompromising modernity while at the same time being alluring.
# 5 Kawakubo is just the second living designer to be featured with an exhibition at the Met Gala
In 2017, the brand was presented at the Met Gala, with an extremely fascinating exhibition that resembles the fashion house itself. Entitled Art of the In-Between, it was only the second time in the history of the event, after Yves Saint Laurent in 1983, that a living designer was in the spotlight. With over 150 couture creations on display, the exhibition revealed the house’s extraordinary journey through the last decades, from the founder’s path and philosophy in fashion, to the broader context of her definition in art. and culture.
(All images: Comme des GarÃ§ons)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok.