Thursday, May 18, 2017


It has become one of the hottest tickets in New York marking the beginning of the spring season. It's the Met Gala with a parade of celebrities and a stairway filled with photographers and the entertainment news media poised with the their microphones and wit; all there to be seen for this year's fashion extravaganza.
There are forces in all the design disciplines that lead the way to turning their respective design worlds upside down. They present a way of looking at art, architecture, music and fashion in ways which open doors for the rest of us to see creativity in ways we might not have been able to see on our own.
They inspire in ways that might not be initially clear but the fuse has been set down and only waits for one of the rest of us to light it and instigate the explosion.
Rei Kawakubo is a builder of dynamite. She's laid the fuse and inspired a host of new designers to set it on fire.
I've been familiar with the Comme des Garcons brand she started back in 1969 from both a fashion and architectural perspective. Her retail minimalism was a signature move igniting a whole slew of Soho followers.
Most recently I discovered and purely by coincidence her newest venture, The Dover Street Market,
an incubator for her brand along with a cult of new designers hoping to make their mark on the fashion industry through sheer innovation and guts.
On display now is a retrospective of her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art labeled "The Art of In-Between" She explains it as an area of thought between polar opposites.
You enter the exhibition through a small hallway
that opens up into a village of white huts, part Zulu African - part Artic Igloo.
Huddled in these village huts are a community of mannequins in small groups
and intimate couples taking up residence in their cocooned abodes.
Looking at the exhibit has a bit of the peeping Tom feeling to it as you see the inhabitants through open doorways and little windows.
The path through the exhibit is winding and each vignette is given its privacy hidden from the walkway until you get to that corner
and the picture window revealing its pseudo human characters draped in Rei Kawakubo's art.
Each of the nine streets that form Kawakubo's  story defines one of her nine expressions of "in-betweenness":
design/not design;
and clothes/not clothes.
It is Rei Kawakubo's belief that  "The right half of my brain likes tradition and history, the left wants to break the rules" and break the rules she does.
The exhibit runs through September 4, 2017

Christy Turlington, British VOGUE, 1992
Patrick Demarchelier
Represented by Staley Wise Gallery

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