As Rei Kawakubo gets announced as the winner of this year’s Isamu Noguchi award, which will be presented at the museum’s annual benefit on May 2 in NYC, we look back to Issue 44 of 10 Magazine, The Music Issue, when the designer spoke to Natalie Dembinska, accompanied by images of Comme des Garçons’ Fall 2012 collection as photographed by Sarah Moon.
“Two dimensions are the future”, says Rei Kawakubo. And so clothes are flat. Paper-doll flat. In brightly coloured felt. Not paper. Some are printed with roses. Others with childlike bubble shapes. Dresses are printed on dresses. Everything is big. Except the hair, which isn’t hair, but a silk skullcap cut in an asymmetric bob. And ill fitting. Models move to the sounds of silence. The whole show is an exploration of form. An essay in flatness. It is awkward. And new.
Natalie Dembinska: Can rational people create mad work?
Rei Kawakubo: Of course.
ND: Why is fashion important? Why is newness important? Why is envelope pushing important?
RK: I believe that, without creation, there can be no progress. Fashion is one of the best ways to express oneself. I built Comme des Garçons around the concept of new. It is important for CdG, I don’t know about generalisations.
ND: Are you more a designer, artist or businesswoman?
RK: I created Comme des Garçons, and run the business of Comme des Garçons along creative lines.
ND: Is there any difference between womenswear and menswear? Most people wear trousers. How different are they really?
RK: There is more freedom in designing women’s clothes, it is true. Sometimes what is new is not immediately visible. Sometimes it is more abstract, interior, a feeling.
ND: How do you feel about your clothes being used as a feminist statement by some? Should clothes be used to make a statement?
RK: Clothes should be used as a means of expression – people should be free to express themselves as they want.
ND: The world of Comme des Garçons is so secret, so shrouded in mystery and legend, so cult-like. Is it actually a cult?
RK: It is not deliberate. people decide what they want to decide.
ND: What does a day in the like of Rei Kawakubo look like?
RK: I just work every day, with heart and soul, and in everyday life, an idea or a feeling can arise. I do not divide the day up into sections. The work is while and constant, whether I am at the office or at the home or travelling.
ND: Why do you do it?
RK: It’s my job.
Taken from Issue 44 of 10 Magazine, The Music Issue.
Photographer: Sarah Moon
Fashion Editor: Jacob K
Hair: Bruno Silvani at Jed Root
Make-up: Alice Ghendrih at Artlist
Models: Reka at Ford, Maria Loks at Next, Alina I at Oui, Kelsey at Marilyn and Zoe Colivas at Elite
Set Designer: Marie Malterre
Photographer’s Assistant: Xavier Pruvot
Fashion Assistants: Clemence Lobert and Danielle Van Camp
Retouching: Georges Emmanuel Arnaud
Casting and Production: Renate Gallois Montbrun and Guillaume Fabiani