And The Next Met Gala Theme Is…

Lady Gaga wearing Comme des Garu00e7ons in Paris, 2012.
Never mind that the Met Gala is over half a year away — the hype leading up to 2017's Costume Institute exhibit (and its accompanying star-studded bash on the first Monday in May) has already begun. On Friday morning, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced its latest fashion study: Rei Kawakubo, the legendary Japanese designer, and her work at Comme des Garçons, the company she founded in 1973. "Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years," Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute's curator, told Vogue of next year's theme. "By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, re-creation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time." This is only the second time the Costume Institute has honored a living designer. (Yves Saint Laurent holds that inaugural honor, with his 1983 exhibit.) The 2017 show will follow Kawakubo's work at Comme des Garçons, starting with the brand's first-ever runway show in 1981, Vogue reports. There'll be 120 pieces total, displayed in a way that highlights a series of dichotomies, such as "East/West" and "past/present," among others. Comme des Garçons has long been recognized for its inventive, larger-than-life creations — let's not forget Lady Gaga's colorblocked, doll-like ensemble from 2012, pictured here — although, most recognizable is likely the brand's signature heart-emblazoned T-shirts. And, like most labels, it hasn't been totally free of criticism: The house (and, in turn, Kawakubo) is notorious for its lack of diversity when it comes to runway casting. Hopefully, this nuance of how we talk about industry innovation — modern design, but not-so-modern politics — is captured in the discourse that'll accompany the retrospective. As always, we can expect quite the crowd to turn out for the Gala that kicks off the exhibit: This year's celebrity co-chairs will be Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams. Let the countdown begin.

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