Mmmm, I’ve been waiting to do this post for a really long time. I’m tingling. Rei Kawakubo is commonly known as “the designer’s designer.” She inspires even the best in the business. Enegmatic, conceptual, media shy, innovative, Kawakubo and her designs are anything but typical. Her label Comme des Garçons (French for “like boys”), based in Tokyo, has been in operation since 1969.
Comme des Garçons is constantly pushing fashion’s boundaries. Her Paris debut was dubbed “Hiroshima Chic,” for its use of dark colors and knitted garments filled with holes.
CdG’s Spring/Summer collection of 1997 is probably most relevant to this project. Commonly known as “Lumps and Bumbs” this collection featured layers of body padding swathed in sheer fabric dresses. Some of these garments seemed to be a modern day interpretation of the bustle.
The bustle, as we all know, was an undergarment, kind of like a slip, that padded out the wearer’s rear end. Worn in Victorian times, the bustle is thought to have been inspired by the popularization of the Hottentot Venus (Sarah Bartmann), a lustful, African caricature featured in British freakshows throughout the early 19th century. Her large buttocks and elongated labia were of prime interest.
Baby’s got back…
…and a baby on her back.
The 1970′s and 80′s marked a turning point for Japanese, avant-garde fashion. Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, and Yohji Yamamoto are probably the most well known Japanese designers from this period. I hesitate to talk about them just in terms of their country of origin, because they’re all really different. This video gives a good breakdown of their different approaches to fashion. I will feature posts on both Yohji Yamamoto and Juntya Wantanabe in the near future.
Aside from Lumps and Bumps, I plan on pulling from her Fall 2009 collection. Here are some of my favorite swipes: