Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between


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I was planning to switch my topic to the Costume Institute’s 2017 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, which examines the works of Rei Kawakubo, a Japanese fashion designer.

Kawakubo was born in 1942, who was not trained as a fashion designer, but worked successively in a textile company and as a freelance stylist after her graduation from Keio University, where she studied fine arts, literature and “the history of aesthetics.” In 1973, she established her own brand, Comme des Garçons. In 1981, her design shocks the European fashion world. From then on, her “voice” is constantly heard in the global fashion world. In 2017,

Topic: Fashion as a Form of Art When Displayed in the Museum: The Curation of a Non-Traditional Exhibition

Research Question: What is the motivation of this exhibition? What does this exhibition want to tell us? How does it tell us through both online curation and the actual arrangement of the space and settings of the exhibition?

Tentative Outline:

  1. A General Introduction
    1. The designer Rei Kawakubo
    2. Kawakubo’s fashion brand Comme des Garçons
    3. How Kawakubo’s style changes and develops

[Resources: articles about Kawakubo from The New Yorker, NY Times, The Guardian, and several published books]

  1. The Interfaces of the curation of the exhibition
    1. The website: What information does it provide? How does it help the actual exhibition? https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2017/rei-kawakubo
    2. The exhibition: How to evaluate the nine themes? How does it help the viewer to understand Kawakubo’s work?

[Resources: The Met’s official website, text, visual image and videos]

  • Fashion, Fashion Designer and Museums
    1. Fashion as an object of art in Exhibitions (a tentative conversation where I situate my project—need to know more about the academic conversation about this area and more materials)
    2. Kawakubo’s show in the Met: this is The Costume Institute’s first monographic show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983. Andrew Bolton is the curator of Kawakubo’s show.

[Resources: Andrew Bolton’s interview, … ]

Problems: Don’t know if I found a suitable conversation for my project; might need more materials that inform the larger conversation or contexts of this exhibition