japanese fashion designer rei kawakubo honored with isamu noguchi award
 

japanese fashion designer rei kawakubo honored with isamu noguchi award

the noguchi museum has selected japanese fashion designer rei kawakubo as recipient of the 2019 isamu noguchi award. kawakubo, hailed as one of the most innovative designers of our time, founded fashion label comme des garçons in 1969 and co-founded multi-brand retailer dover street market with husband adrian joffe in 2004. throughout her career, kawakubo has been widely celebrated for consistently defying notions of what fashion can be, and challenging the idea that design and art are inherently different. kawakubo celebrates not only forms, but also the spaces between them.

 

the isamu noguchi award is presented to individuals who share isamu noguchi’s spirit of innovation, global consciousness, and commitment to cultural exchange.


comme des garçons SS18
all images courtesy of comme des garçons, unless otherwise stated

 

 

‘when I want to express me, it’s not the clothes that I express myself through. it is the whole environment that the whole clothes will stay in and take position in,’ kawakubo has said about her holistic approach to design as the ideation of dover street market. ‘the environment is just as valuable to me as the clothes that I make. that’s why I always have that in my mind when I’ve finished creating a clothes design. to me, actually, the environment — the total environment — might be even more important than the individual clothing that I make or design. because the space is the one that makes the whole experience as a holistic approach. that’s the result you’re seeing.’


comme des garçons SS18

 

 

this year marks the 50th anniversary of comme des garçons (translated from french as ‘like boys’), a milestone that has been branded with career-defining moments throughout. over the course of a half a century, kawakubo has continuously sought to evolve her avant-garde, innovative silhouettes. ‘every so often I want to change completely,’ the designer has said, ‘it’s a way, I hope, that allows me space to find something new. I have always aimed to push forwards, finding something that is new, strong, and that stimulates hearts and minds. when I looked for what was next under the old approach, I couldn’t find it. eventually, I realised ‘not design’ was still a form of design. I decided the only approach is to take what I found deep inside my mind and produce it straightforwardly, in simple form.’


comme des garçons SS18

 

 

kawakubo has extended her design practice beyond clothing to include graphic design, advertising, and interiors for her businesses and stores — elements she considers to be inextricable components of her aesthetic vision. her work has appeared in several exhibitions, including the critically-acclaimed solo exhibition at the metropolitan museum of art in 2017, only the second monographic show awarded to a living designer by the institution.


comme des garçons FW18


comme des garçons FW18


comme des garçons FW18


comme des garçons FW18


comme des garçons SS19


comme des garçons FW19


comme des garçons FW19


comme des garçons store in paris, designed by rei kawakubo


comme des garçons store in new york, SS19 collection, designed by rei kawakubo


comme des garçons store in aoyama, designed by rei kawakubo


dover street market store in LA, designed by rei kawakubo


portrait of rei kawakubo
photo by paolo roversi, © comme des garçons | courtesy of the noguchi museum

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