If You Ever See Rei Kawakubo On The Street, Maybe Just Smile & Wave

Photo: Melodie Jeng/Getty Images.
When said out loud, "Fashion Week" has a double meaning — and for anyone who's ever been a part of all the action, feeling weak is not only par for the course, it's often the reason we love fashion to begin with. So, in honor of the moments of chaos, beauty, and excitement that made us feel weak, we present My Fashion Week-ness: a compilation of accounts from some of the industry's biggest players. They're spilling their most memorable stories from Fashion Weeks gone by, and the ones that keep them coming back for more.
Monday marks fashion's biggest night of the year, and the 2017 Met Gala honors Rei Kawakubo, the Japanese designer behind Comme des Garçons, who's the second living designer to be recognized by the Costume Institute (the other was Yves Saint Laurent, who was honored in 1983). For the majority of her career, the designer has remained very reclusive. Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, and the press that's preceded it, is as close to Kawakubo as we're going to get.
But someone else, actually, got closer than he'd ever think, too. Creative director and author Greg Foley had a run-in with the designer when he was a fashion student that, even in that moment, he knew he'd never forget. Foley is the creative and design director of V and VMAN (a title he holds in conjunction with editor-in-chief Stephen Gan), and is an eight-time children's book author (with a coffee table book on the way). It turns out that running into Kawakubo was mostly by accident, but approaching her was an attempt to seal the moment into his memory. And how she reacted — or, sort of didn't react — made it all the better.
"It was in SoHo, somewhere by the original Comme des Garçons shop, and I was walking by and I saw Rei Kawakubo getting out of a car. I went up to her just to meet her or make some kind of a connection or recognition that I saw her in the flesh. And I approached her, and I said, 'Are you Rei Kawakubo?' and she turned to me and said, 'Yes, are you a fashion student?'" Foley told Refinery29.
"I had nothing to say to her after that. I was like, 'Uh huh...' And she was very gracious and sort of gave me that very gentle, bow-like handshake and I just backed off. It was like I identified her and she identified me, right away, as if anybody who would ever come up to her would have to be a student of fashion. I was speechless. Like, she nailed me! Like, 'Yeah, I'm just a fashion student. That's me...'"
For all things Fashion Week around the world — including street style snaps, designer news, and the trends you'd actually wear — head over to Refinery29's Fashion Month hub.

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