Collecting Comme

Collecting Comme

1 November 2019 – 26 July 2020, 10am-5pm | Free entry | NGV International

Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons is one of the most visionary and influential fashion designers working today. Her intent has always been 'to make clothes that didn't exist before' and since the early 1970s Kawakubo has consistently challenged the ways people think about dress. Recognised for her intellectual, anti-fashion vocabulary of the 1980s, Kawakubo has upended notions of ideal beauty and gender, and 'deconstructed' conventional garment forms to introduce a new vocabulary into fashion, including oversized volumes, asymmetry, layering, imperfection and the use of black.

With her new approaches to silhouette, inventive pattern-making and experimental fabric treatments, Kawakubo's work has remained enigmatic and radical, season after season, often critiquing the codes of femininity and gender.

Collecting Comme celebrates the NGV's expansive collection of Comme des Garçons designs, generously gifted to the institution by Mr Takamasa Takahashi from 2005. The exhibition also includes work by Rei Kawakubo's protégés Junya Watanabe and Tao Kurihara. A self-described 'Comme tragic' with a long history of collecting, Takahashi's profound appreciation of, and emotional connection to, Kawakubo's work permeates this exhibition, which considers both the historical and the personal significance of Comme des Garçons in cementing Kawakubo's place within the history of contemporary fashion and the NGV Collection.