For the first time since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit in 1983, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's highly-anticipated Costume Institute show will center on a single, living designer: Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. Before Andrew Bolton reveals his latest curatorial work, though, celebrities, designers, and other fashionable folk with enough disposable income to shell out for a ticket will congregate to toast the museum, while wearing the finest gowns, some of which will be plucked straight from the honoree's archive.
The exhibit itself, titled "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between," chronicles her work at the Tokyo- and Paris-based brand she founded in 1969. It's not a retrospective, per se, as curator Andrew Bolton made clear to Vogue: "We've been courting Rei for years, so the timing is really about her finally feeling more comfortable working with a museum," adding that the designer explicitly stated that it shouldn't be a "historical survey of her career, but rather something different." Still, the Met's annual, highly-anticipated fashion exhibit puts one designer and one designer only front and center — and we're sure many of the attendees expected to climb the museum's red-carpeted steps on the first Monday in May will thus be honoring Kawakubo with their gala get-ups.
Over the decades, Kawakubo (who's a particularly press-shy talent, which makes this year's Met Gala all the more interesting) has influenced everyone from Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld to the Antwerp Six. So, since the Comme des Garçons touch can be felt well beyond the brand's runway pieces and associated diffusion lines, Met Gala attendees could potentially show up in a wide range of Kawakubo-created (or -inspired) garments from the latter half of the century.
We're not expecting that all of the outfit credits to come out of this red carpet will be exclusively from the avant-garde label — but we sure hope some of the stylists prepping clients for the big night will dig up the designer's most ambitious, out-of-the-box creations from the archive for the occasion. Sure, the idea of co-hosts Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady showing up in some sculptural Comme des Garçons was mostly good Twitter fodder, maybe the industry's most famous will surprise us this met Gala. If not... well, at least we'll have Lady Gaga.
To gear up for the gala, we dug up some Kawakubo's most seminal moments for Comme des Garçons, in the hopes that some Met Gala-bound celebs will give these epic creations another moment in the spotlight.
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Comme des Garçons began showing its collections in Paris in the '80s, and this look from the Spring '88 runway evokes a deconstructed approach at apropos aristocratic dressing — a good option for a Met Gala attendee that wants to dip her toes into Kawakubo's approach to breaking down well-known silhouettes while still keeping it in line with more "traditional" red carpet dressing.
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Comme des Garçons' spring '97 show was officially called "Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body," but colloquially referred to as "lumps and bumps," per Vogue, for its exploration of form through shapely dresses.
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This Comme des Garçons pantsuit is reminiscent of Sarah Jessica Parker's Monse look from last year's Met Gala — so, we're going to guess that she'd be partial to this fall '98 get-up for the 2017 fête.
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Kawakubo's fall '04 show for Comme des Garçons was set at the Parisian nightclub Lido, per Vogue — so, what better venue to bring one of its Victorian-meets-dancer looks than to a super-swishy party at the Costume Institute?
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The white, foam padding that stuffed many of the garments that made their way down Comme des Garçons' fall '10 catwalk mean that this is definitely one of the most comfortable collections to pick a Met Gala gown from.
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As Dazed noted, Kawakubo explored the full range of emotion one can find in a single color — red — for Comme des Garçons' monochromatic spring '15 collection. The pieces featured are as bold as the color they're rendered in, so we can imagine some of the designer's most ardent followers (or perhaps the Met Gala's most fearless dressers) gravitating towards the garments showcased this season.
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The designer dubbed her fall '15 Comme des Garçons "Ceremony of Separation," according to NOW Fashion — which is fitting, given the solitary nature of this look. Just try making small talk with the co-chairs while wearing such an...involved ensemble.