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21° & CLOUDY ON SATURDAY 14 DECEMBER IN SYDNEY
By Libby Curran
November 01, 2019
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Collecting Comme

A free exhibition dedicated to the groundbreaking work of Japanese fashion label Comme des Garcons.
By Libby Curran
November 01, 2019
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It's safe to say Rei Kawakubo, founder of Japanese label Comme des Garçons, is up there among the fashion world's most influential designers. Kawakubu launched the seminal label back in 1969 and held its debut show in Paris in 1981 — now, a selection of the trailblazer's best works have been brought together for Australia's first exhibition dedicated to Comme des Garçons, on show at NGV International until July 2020.

Visitors to Collecting Comme can get up close and personal with more than 65 of Kawakubo's visionary outfits, in a roll-call of highlights plucked from over 40 different collections. These pieces are complemented by a further 13 standout designs by two of Kawakubo's protégés: Junya Watanabe and Tao Kurihara. It's an impressive haul of groundbreaking fashion, with many pieces donated by collector Takamasa Takahashi and others on loan from his personal collection.

Looking back across almost five decades of Kawakubo's celebrated design work, Collecting Comme speaks to a pretty incredible career, defined by a penchant for the experimental and a subversive approach to fashion and beauty.

Revisit the oversized, textural and asymmetrical designs of early 80s Comme des Garçons, including purposely distressed garments like 1982's infamous hole-and-dropped-stitch Sweater from the Holes collection. Later works show how Kawakubo adopted punk elements and unconventional fabrics to question perceptions of women's social roles and redefine taste, while proposing a new relationship between our bodies and clothes.

You'll even spy three designs from 1997's radical Body Meets Dress-Dress Meets Body collection — a runway show memorable for the polyurethane bulges unashamedly visible beneath the models' garments. More recent works include a bright red sculptural stunner from 2014 collection Blood and Roses.

Images: Installation view of 'Collecting Comme' at NGV International. Copyright Comme des Garçons. Photo: Tom Ross.

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