Evening dress, Comme des Garçons

  • Comme des Garçons

  • Autumn/Winter 1991-1992
  • Dress: black silk on a hoop. Train: muslin of hand-painted black silk.
  • GAL1993.64.1
  • Purchased by the City of Paris
  • Palais Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

Comme des Garçons founder and designer Rei Kawakubo arrived in Paris in 1981, a little over ten years after the first wave of Japanese creators like Tokio Kumagai, Issey Miyake and Kenzo Takada. She had begun showing her collections in Tokyo in 1973. Once in Paris she caught the eye of the media with her 1983 Spring/summer collection and its intimations of the incomplete and the unfinished. Ever since she has been exploring our relationship with clothes via the Asian and Western traditions, also drawing on the history of the silhouette in Occidental fashion, with its additions and distortions. This is the work of an auteur, in which Rei Kawakubo catalogues her obsessions and puts questions - but without imposing any answers. Each of her collections is a keenly anticipated event.

This evening dress reconciles East and West. Its structure reminds us of Balenciaga's basculée dresses, shorter in front than at the back, while the distinctive shape of the padded skirt is ensured by a hoop. Here, too, we are reminded of those heavy ceremonial kimonos, an impression reinforced by the stylised Mt Fuji landscape painted with broad brushstrokes on the black silk muslin of the train. Here two cultures meet and the result is an evening dress that marries the sumptuous and the unconventional as Rei Kawakubo offers a new concept of luxury.  

Notice's author : Laurent Cotta