Or how to break the codes.
Contrary to popular belief the brand is not french but japanese. Komu de Gyaruson
(コ ム デ ギ ャ ル ソ ン) more commonly known as Comme des Garçons or CDG,
was Created in 1969 by Rei kawakubo.
Born in the heart of the Japanese capital on October 11, 1942, Rei Kawakubo distinguished herself in post-adolescence through literary and artistic studies which she followed at Keio University in Tokyo. It was however towards marketing that she turned to her beginnings, launching herself as a freelance stylist at the age of 25.
Dissatisfied with the clothes she then found on the market, the young woman gradually began to draw the pieces she wanted to see on herself. Setting, without knowing it, the milestones of her future vocation.
In the 60s, The punk surge shifts the stylistic landscape, stimulating more than ever a Rei Kawakubo bubbling with creative energy. After going back and forth on British soil, the emerging designer decided in 1969 to found her own brand: “Comme des Garçons”. A French-sounding name, inspired by the famous song by Françoise Hardy, “Tous les garcons et les filles de mon ages.” Or when the pop of yéyés influenced innovative Japanese fashion.
Comme des garçons drew its inspiration from popular clothes and a Japanese custom: sashiko. Cotton being a rare commodity at the time, it consisted in extending the life of clothing by reinforcing or sewing several thicknesses. This patching technique is comparable to patchwork, a recurring pattern in Comme des Garçons collections even today.
However, it was not this style of clothing that brought the Japanese phenomenon beyond the borders, but an even more extreme aesthetic.
Resolutely out of the box, the style "comme des garçons" immediately stands out as being the opposite of classical dress. Less practical than conceptual, the collections continue to question, season after season, the relevance of the garment, its sociological significance as well as its technical dimension. Oversized or voluntarily frowzy, pushing to its climax the fusion of the beautiful and the ugly.
French haute couture of the 80s represented glamor, pieces were made with noble materials that were inaccessible at the time, akin to tailor-made. But Kawakubo for her first show in Paris in 1981, broke the codes by exhibiting a collection made up of ragged, black and asymmetrical clothes that went against the aesthetics in vogue.
The different houses took offense but the critics and the various fashion magazines praised Rei's performance as well as her audacity.
Rei Kawabuko's clothes even goes as far as drawing inspiration from the allure of the homeless for her spring-summer 1983 collection. The press called it at that time
“the New Wave of Beauty”.
"For something to be beautiful it doesn't have to be pretty", with these words, the Japanese designer signs a new era of fashion, where beauty does not rhyme with elegance and by using a simple color like black, we can build around dozens of collections by varying the cuts, the materials. A definition that Rick Owens (fashion designer for the brand) applies to the letter in his lines today, for a success that continues to grow.
With years, the collections become more and more precursor, as well as memorable with unexpected collaborations notably Supreme.
As well as celebrities like Lady Gaga, pharrell williams, Alexa chung....
Far from monopolizing the creative direction of the brand, Rei Kawakubo issurrounded by famous designers such as Junya Watanabe, Tao Kurihara or Fumito Ganryu who have in parallel launched their own eponymous brand.
As for the Comme des Garçons label, it is gradually becoming a label for perfumes,
ephemeral concept stores,
or even more recently for jewelry.
Comme des garçons also includes many diffusion lines, such as PLAY, Noir, Homme Plus, Homme Plus Sport, SHIRT, Tricot, womenswear and much more (17 in total).
Later in 2004, CDG developed a market-based department store Dover Street Market(London), which stocks its main collections as well as its diffusion lines, among a variety of other designers and labels. The store also features art installations and interior designs by Kawakubo herself, among numerous other designers and artists.
A diversification that will be part of each step in a perfect continuity with the DNA of the house, mixture of avant-garde aureole with hype and creative virtuosity.