Comme des Garçons by Craig McDean for AnOther Magazine, SS-2019

Susannah Frankel gets intimate with designer, Rei Kawakubo, as Craig McDean captures the heart of Comme des Garçons for AnOther Magazine, SS 2019. Exquisite designs defy the idea of common with dynamic decisions being made at every turn. That’s a compelling construct. To express oneself through the medium of fabric is a daunting process.  Differentiation exists between the practical and theoretical design construct. The culture of such discourse honors the artistic animal, and therefore can produce radical design. ‘To be communicated, understood and therefore interpreted – that is a move toward human-centeredness,’ which is a compelling construct. ‘Free of Design on the Surface,’ one of the most compelling parts of this interview is her description of self. She uses that energy to propel her forward. Comme des Garçons, will forever be the original House of Haute Couture.

“Comme des Garçons from now on is not about outwardly evident design and expression but about the design of content, about what’s deep inside,” she said. “The collection will be quiet, serenely internal, free of design on the surface. Continuing in a state of perplexity is a risk. Advancing ahead while fumbling around in the dark is also a risk. I believe that Comme des Garçons should choose the latter.” From Susannah Frankel’s Cover Story; A Rare Conversation with Rei Kawakubo.

Art is a deep issue leading to effusive expression. At once a dominating force can as easily be fed to an animal of greater demands. Am I the hunter or the hunted? High fashion is always asking that very question. It is here in that unstable existence that allows us to experience the process in meaningful ways. Styles represent a moment in time. These aren’t merely clothes that cover the body or fashion that fulfills a need, they are unmarked places where insanity breeds. I have always felt a connection to Rei Kawakubo. There are certain people that let you know you are connected. Sometimes in deeply disconnected ways. Would I want it any different? No. Art is a unify force. It’s power is a substantial indicator of personal affect.

A design free from typical design rules. Think about that. She is willing to give up the very thing that gives most creators the courage to go on. Their talent to put hands on the fabric in order to control the outcome. Overworked pieces are known to be an anchor in the industry. They are not art. They do not have her instinct… her genius. It leaves room for all possibilities. Make no mistake, I don’t imagine this is a reality for all artists. Commitment is key. Commonality kills. Kawakubo’s unique abilities urge her to rebuke common practices, while providing the strength to explore. Allowing yourself to ache for the sake of aching is nothing more than a convoluted construct. But, to make room for pain to enter the picture is something all together different. Control, that is the common denominator. To lose control isn’t any better than to harbor control. You must be willing to give up control. To let it go rather than be ripped from your hands. That’s the difference. Drama sometimes plays a wicked game with the mind. Telling us that something is difficult when it’s really dangerous. Often it’s conscious contemplation that compels an artist forth. Dropping it at the backdoor is my advice. Color can scream in many shades, but sometimes it’s the simple black/white of it all that holds the heart. Going straight to the source. The Heart. The Gut. The Head. The trio of torment that tortures all who aim to uncover their deeper self.

The format of fluidity is found in the archival energy of the Female Warrior. A fearsome fighter born to fuse the elemental factions of the body and mind. Here we honor the authenticity of self. A calculation based on the beauty of truth and the bounty of beauty. All things lead to the end and that which ends must begin again. That Truth Is Our Center. Venturing down this pathway of promise we find ourselves pondering the past. Taking inspiration from intention we begin to see beyond ourselves. To give up the formality of fortunate outcomes ~ is a brave choice. She decided to venture into herself. To create as it comes is to be utterly open to the unknown. If we stop trying to change the affect, we’ll find we can’t control the outcome. We have the power to intercept to intercede to extradite and to amplify. Those are the verbose actions one can take to appear as if they control the PHYSICAL WORLD. However, what we know is that we know very little. We are merely a set of actions and responses. Kawakubi’s work tells us to dress that up would be a misguided lie.

Rei Kawakubi ‘gives form to abstract images’ with the help of Anok Yai, Ansley Gulielmi, Bente Oort, Birgit Kos, Hannah Motler, Kaila Wyatt, Kiki Willems, Lineisy Montero and Sora Choi. To combine a collection of compelling designs that defy the idea of common. Connecting every aspect of effect, she takes into consideration every angle of existence. This bold way of creating allows her to inhabit the fabrics. Although a mesmerizing exercise, these alternate routes can have truly adverse effects. To meander down the pathway of the mind can be daunting. A mental minefield, as it were. This doesn’t mean a negative response. It merely defines the radius. To submerge yourself in the subject at hand, you have to be willing to wade in the waters of wonder. A phrase that may sound singular but can be savage. The notion of abject intellect doesn’t speak to a pattern of chaos, it marks meaning. Art isn’t a linear process. It’s a journey of discovery. One that offers no absolutes, but can lead you to Find Your Freedom. Expression can be a painful process. It isn’t easy, nor is it predetermined. One needs to feel to think. I believe we are thinking, feeling animals. Requiring both negative and positive input to move in any direction. The mind/body connection is as important as anything. Here Rei reaches beyond the typical limits of fashion design to invite expression. She isn’t stopping the process in order to create. Instead, she’s allowing the process to unfold in true fashion. I see her eclectic styles as ever moving, Like watching water fall through your hands, happiness isn’t meant to hold steady, it’s meant to move and migrate… This is the Art of Evolution.