The Costume Institute’s spring 2017 exhibition will examine the work of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. The thematic show will feature approximately 120 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear for Comme des Garçons, from her first Paris runway show in 1981 to her most recent collection.
The galleries will illustrate the designer’s revolutionary experiments in “in-betweenness”—the space between boundaries. By situating her designs within and between dualities such as East/West, male/female, and past/present, Kawakubo probes their rigidity and artificiality to resolve and dissolve them. Mannequins will be arranged at eye level, with no physical barriers, to collapse the usual distance between museum visitors and the designs on display.