A Fun Fashionista Day at The Met Costume Exhibition

Being a fashionista at heart (although I now wear yoga leggings most days), I so look forward to my yearly visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) Costume Exhibition with my BFF J and BFF N. It is a high point of the summer. This year was no exception. The exhibition was a feast for the eyes and I can’t wait to share my photos.

Are you ready for a visual extravaganza?

The 2017 “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” exhibition features the Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo, who designs under the label Comme des Garçons. Kawakubo is in her mid-70s today and is a true artist. The exhibition is mesmerizing with clothes artfully displayed atop and inside geometrically arranged white display cases and cylinders.

Are you ready to be transformed by fashion as art?

“Her fashions not only stand apart from the genealogy of clothing but also resist definition and confound interpretation. They can be read as Zen koans or riddles devised to baffle, bemuse, and bewilder,” notes the printed guide. “At the center of her work are the koan mu (emptiness) and the related notion of ma (space), which coexist in the concept of the ‘in-between.'”

Are you ready to channel your inner fashionista?

We followed the map around the exhibition, which led us on a path through nine expressions of Kawakubo’s ‘in-betweenness’: Absence/Presence; Design/Not Design; Fashion/Antifashion; Model/Multiple; High/Low; Then/Now; Self/Other; Object/Subject; and Clothes/Not Clothes.

The duality of the designs reminded me of my yoga studies and the duality and equanimity we try to create with yoga poses. In fact, it was so Zen in the exhibition hall at times I wished I could have put down a mat and done yoga among the clothes. (I wonder if The Met would like to have me host a Kawakubo yoga session. Maybe I should ask them.)

Are you ready for my Insta-worthy Kawakubo photos?

Ooh, ahh, ooh, ahh! 

Drumroll please! 

1. Absence/Presence: “My clothes and the species they inhabit are inseparable—they are one and the same. They convey the same vision, the same message and the same sense of values.”  Rei Kawakubo (2017).

 

5.2 High/Low: “There’s value in bad taste.” Rei Kawakubo (2008).

7. Self/Other: From Kawakubo’s Cubism spring/summer 2007 collection.

7.3.4 Child/Adult: “Focuses on ensembles that not only challenge the rules of age-appropriate dressing but also engage the concept of kawaii (cuteness)—a key aspect of Japanese popular culture.” This pink floral dress features an oversize stuffed teddy bear camouflaged within frills. (Spring/summer 2014).

8. Object/Subject: These Body Meets Dress—Dress Meets Body dresses and coats are padded with goose down. Spring/summer 1997.

9.1 Form/Function: “Personally, I don’t care about function at all … When I hear ‘Where could you wear that?’ or ‘It’s not very wearable,’ or ‘Who would wear that?’ to me it’s just a sign that someone missed the point.” Kawakubo 2009 and 2014

9.4 War/Peace: From the Blood and Roses 2015 Collection. “Roses and Blood appear in both literal and abstract form, and both are represented through the color palette—poppy red.”

9.4 War/Peace: From the Flowering Clothes Collection, autumn/winter 1996-97.

9.7 Order/Chaos: Collection 18th-Century Punk. “The clothes conflate the pneumatic structures and hyperbolic silhouettes of the 1700s with the leitmotifs of 1970s punk.” Autumn/winter 2016-17.

Did you like the photos? Which outfit would you wear? Leave a comment and LMK. (Personally, I would like to try on the red gingham with the goose down humps. Rihanna wore one of the dresses from the Punk Collection at the 2017 Met Gala.)

If you are a fashionista like me and want to be inspired by the entire exhibition I encourage you to take a trip to The Met, where Rei Kawakubo designs are on display through September 4. Or go to this link, scroll down the page to The Met video, and watch the video narrated by Met Costume Institute Curator Andrew Bolton.

This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.

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Costume exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a study in the duality of design—and a feast for the eyes.

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