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A look at Rei Kawakubo's seven best moments

A look at Rei Kawakubo's seven best moments

Visionary extraordinaire

Text: Wei Yeen Loh


Image: Getty Images
Image: Kyoto Costume Institute
Image: Eiichiro Sakata

We round up 7 of the Japanese high fashion maestro's best moments, both unconventional and avant-garde in form and expertise

Like most designers, Rei Kawakubo doesn't confine herself to a set of rules and guidelines when it comes to inspiration or aesthetic vision. But the way she stands out from the rest in the industry is through the extent of her reach in terms of creativity and originality—from her radical, boundary-breaking designs at her label Comme des Garçons, founded in 1969; to Six, her biannual photo-ladden magazine and Dover Street Market, her multilevel fashion retail and concept store that goes through a "tachiagari" whereby the interior concept is renewed twice a year. 

Kawakubo's most famous for her groundbreaking, distinctive concepts spotted on runways of Paris—her first collection in 1981 was mostly sombre black, shapeless and shredded, essentially the antithesis of the ostentatious designs from the rest of the high fashion pundits. Her 2D collection during A/W 2012 featured bright oversized and flat-fronted proportions, as a personal take on the current state of fashion at that time—lacking in depth and void of meaning. When Kawakubo saw potential in her protégés Junya Watanabe and Kei Ninomiya, she encouraged them to open their own line of apparel under the Comme des Garçons umbrella, with designs that are always conceptual, at times deconstructed, but with poignancy like hers—there's always something that goes beneath the surface.

As Kawakubo turns 73, here's a look back at her 7 best moments as a master tailor, creative artist, entrepreneur and more: