The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has revealed the theme for its 2017 Costume Institute exhibition and gala will be “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons”

The upcoming show will be the first to make a living designer the sole subject of the Met’s famous fashion exhibit since Yves Saint Laurent in 1983.

Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past forty years,” said the Costume Institute’s curator in charge, Andrew Bolton. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.

Set to open on 4 May 2017, the exhibit will feature around 120 Comme des Garçons womenswear designs by Kawakubo (the brand was established back in 1973, with its first boutique opening in Tokyo two years later), dating back to the label’s first runway collection in 1981 and up to the most recent shows.

The show will also look at Kawakubo’s fascination with “in-betweenness” and focus in on contrasting themes, such as East/West, male/female and past/present, which touch upon Kawakubo’s fascination with “in-betweenness.”

The mannequins featuring Kawakubo’s designs will also be more accessible than ever, as they will be placed at eye-level without any glass or other physical barriers between them and the viewer.

The Costume Institute Benefit will take place, as is tradition, on May 1, the first Monday of the month. The party will be cochaired by Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, and Anna Wintour, with Kawakubo serving as honorary chair, and the exhibit will be sponsored by Apple, Condé Nast, Farfetch, H&M, and Maison Valentino.


Remembering: Kawakubo, who turned 74 this year, never received any formal training in fashion design. In fact, she studied fine art and literature in university while in Tokyo. She would later found her peerless brand in 1969.