In the past decade, the Met Gala has gone from a fashion insider fête to yet another red carpet capital-E Event, though still one with deep fashion roots. Its focuses, which are tied to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and its high-ranking exhibits at the Met, have included 2011’s Alexander McQueen tribute for Savage Beauty, 2015’s Western appropriation of Chinese fashion for China: Through the Looking Glass, and 2009’s musings on the relationship between designers and models.
And now, next year’s theme has been announced: 2017’s Met Gala focus will be on Rei Kawakubo, the iconic designer behind COMME des GARÇONS, and we could not. be. more. excited.
For more casual fashion observers, CDG’s influence is one of iconography: Spin-off line Play is branded by the now-ubiquitous crossed (as in temperament) heart, which adorns everything from Converse sneakers to bold striped shirts.
CDG’s also known for their simple but timeless accessories, like gorgeous jewel-toned wallets or wares emblazoned with gorgeous spot patterns.
Kawakubo’s most mass market offerings are only part of her fantastic design vision; just as she knows when to pare down in terms of simplicity, she also pares down in terms of reinvention. Her more experimental clothes function as art installations, using the human body as an anchor, a lifting-off point, for the clothes themselves.
While many have tried to capture Kawakubo’s personality with words (with this New Yorker profile being by far the best example), she’s best celebrated through clothes, and we’re hoping that next year’s Met Gala attendees take Kawakubo’s influence by wearing challenging and complicated clothes, ones that require the wearer to be aware of their body and of the conventions of taste that fashion can, and should, challenge still.
CDG has a few high-profile adherents, namely Hamilton actor and rapper Daveed Diggs (who wore CDG to the Tonys this year, and is clearly a fan):
But we’re curious how more, ah, conventional celebs tackle the theme and the curious woman at the center of it. On that note, this year’s co-chairs are Anna Wintour, Pharrell, and Katy Perry.
For no reason other than I love it so, here’s a video of Mary Baskett, who collects contemporary Japanese fashion, particularly from Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, and Issey Miyake, explaining the influence of these three designers. Enjoy: