A global Pandemic would have thought to close a lot of opportunities to explore and continue with normal livelihood, however one could say it has opened a lot of opportunities for us to stay in touch with radical discoveries more through virtual experiences. The NGV exhibition, “Collecting Comme” features Rei Kawakubo’s contemporary fashion collection.
Cloak from the Blood & Roses collection, 2014 by Rei Kawakubo’s
Rei Kawakubo’s, features 65 garments from over 40 collections, she wanted to make clothes that didn’t exist before. Not only in her fashion, it’s the way clothes are made to reinvent a new style. She overturns conventional ideas of existing fashions and beauty, through this she disrupts normalized characteristics of the fashionable body.
Takamasa Takahashi, a Japanese fan of Rei’s work who collected her work since the 1970s, and put together most of the Collecting Comes, he was purchasing clothes for himself even though the garments were from a women’s collection he felt they could define his character. He would buy a pair of wide, quilted cotton pants, to him the collection held a baggy and genderless style. This notion of breaking typical rules of fashion entices many who seek to find their own fashion which is not the normalised feminine or masculine shapes and colour used in present fashion as we know today.
Installation view of Collecting Comes, 2020 by Rei Kawakubo’s
Transcending Gender collection, 1995 by Rei Kawakubo’s
However, in this exhibition Rei’s work upheld a higher strain on women’s wear, as we can see from this exhibition, the shapes are still androgynous, however the fabrics, colours and the garment making still holds very feminine features, making folds into a flower shape or using bold colours like vibrant reds although, they still hold neutral colour scheme and feature masculine shapes of blazers. Leaving a controversial question when looking at her clothes as you are not left with a certain idea of who will be wearing them.
Collecting Comes, 2020
One of my favourite from Rei’s collection is this plaid poncho garment, although this could be mistaken as skirt used as a scarf. This notion of using ‘deconstructed’ clothing form reinforces the contravention of a new reinvented way of making clothes. Rei is always overlooking normalized fashion and makes it her own with undefining meaning. The purpose through her fashion proposals, reframes predetermined concepts of attraction and rearticulating a new connection between body and dress.
Rei Kawakubo’s collection is very exciting and fresh, the geometric shapes and symmetry used disrupts usual characteristics of typical fashions of the body. Breaking the rules of gender fashion Rei Kawakubo’s collection leaves us refreshed with a new approach to fashion, given though the convenience of the virtual tours.
Words written Mohini Patel
Photo’s sourced from collecting comes ngv online exhibition https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/exhibition/collecting-comme/