Kawakubo, Rei

Kawakubo, Rei,

1942–, Japanese fashion designer, b. Tokyo. After working for a textile manufacturer, she became (1967) a freelance stylist, founded (1969) the fashion label Comme des Garçons, and opened (1975) her first boutique, in Tokyo. Kawakubo introduced a menswear line in 1978, and later opened boutiques in Paris, London, New York, and other cities; she relocated her headquarters to Paris in 1980. She is known for voluminous, asymetrical, deconstructed garments designed for mobility and comfort, often in gray or black. Her post-1980s collections have generally been more colorful, less functional, more surreal, and often more like abstract art than wearable fashion; some clothes have been filled with holes, others have had strange excrescences, lacked sleeves, or been constructed of unusual materials. Kawakubo also created costumes for the avant-garde choreographer Merce CunninghamCunningham, Merce
(Mercier Philip Cunningham), 1919–2009, American modern dancer and choreographer, b. Centralia, Wash. Cunningham studied modern dance with Martha Graham and ballet at Balanchine's School of American Ballet.
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, e.g., for his Scenario (1997), and was an early "pop-up" store retailer.
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