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Rei Kawakubo

Japanese, b. 1942

Comme des Garçons is one of the world’s most innovative and trailblazing fashion brands, helmed by its inimitable founder, Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo (b. 1942), who has a penchant for breaking fashion and cultural norms. 

Perhaps no designer better embodies fashion cool than Kawakubo. And when she makes industry veterans lose their cool, well, that’s a fashion moment. The only living designer apart from Yves Saint Laurent to have a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, Kawakubo has permanently changed fashion — her designs for widely loved vintage Comme des Garçons dresses, shirts and other clothing and accessories challenge traditional ideas of beauty with a creative and transgressive exuberance.

After studying art and literature at Keio University in Tokyo, Kawakubo worked as a freelance stylist before establishing her own label in 1969. Comme des Garçons — which is also known as CDG — officially launched in 1973, and Kawakubo opened her first store in Tokyo three years later. She has since been instrumental in pioneering many concepts now familiar in contemporary fashion.

One of Kawakubo’s most iconic moves was her introduction of androgynous styles (Comme des Garçons means “like the boys” in French) with asymmetrical, twisted silhouettes that envelope the body. While she told the New York Times that the “basics of clothing lie in men’s fashion,” Kawakubo believes in the concept of humanness in clothes (she titled her spring 1995 show “Transcending Gender”). In the 1970s, when color-blocking was the norm, Kawakubo stuck to her monochromatic color palette dominated by shades of black with uncompromising dedication, although with evocative and powerful use of red and white.

Comme des Garçons is also known for an often shocking take on fashion. Deconstructed tailoring, violently slashed fabric and sculptural shapes are some themes that run through the brand’s collections, but Kawakubo never explains the meaning of her conceptual pieces, which fall somewhere between art and fashion. For Kawakubo, the body is a mere support, an easel that holds the canvas on which she exercises her formidable creative energy in a perpetual quest to invent a brave new world using fabric, or its equivalent, as her brushstroke. Today's enthusiasts of 1990s fashion revere Kawakubo for her progressive pink plaid grunge dresses, velvet jackets and nylon skirts of the era, which resembled little else back then. They were modeled by the likes of Naomi Campbell and other luminaries of the industry. 

Even though the brand has over the years worked with other innovative designers such as Tao Kurihara and Junya Watanabe and has launched more commercial offshoots like PLAY, known by the iconic heart motif with eyes, the premier men’s line Homme Plus and the multilabel Dover Street Market that opened in 2004, the essence of Comme des Garçons remains Kawakubo’s otherworldly and undefinable creations, which are impossible to ignore.

Find vintage Rei Kawakubo shirts, jackets, day dresses and other clothing on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$1,088
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2013 COMME DES GARCONS black and red RUNWAY jacket
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Very dramatic asymmetrical, pleated runway jacket designed by Rei Kawakubo as seen on the spring 2013 runway. Labeled a size 'm'. Can be worn front to back or back to front as shown....
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2010s Japanese Rei Kawakubo

Comme Des Garcons Homme Plus A/W2011 Duck DIY Elongated T-Shirt
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Tuxedo jackets were worn over long leather coats, worn over tartan t-shirts. Loose silk pajama pants and kimono style coats with oriental prints recalled the East while a U2 t-shirt...
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2010s Japanese Rei Kawakubo

Comme des Garcons Homme Plus A/W2009 Eskimo Fur Cardigan
By Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons Homme Plus
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From A/W2010 "Protection" Collection, designed by Rei Kawakubo for Homme Plus line. The piece took direct inspiration from Eskimo and icy moutainous garments. Size: S, fits true to ...
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Early 2000s Japanese Rei Kawakubo

Comme Des Garcons SHIRT S/S2019 Cut-Out Rabbit T-Shirt
By Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons Shirt
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Comme Des Garcons SHIRT Spring Summer 2019 was a set of plethora looks featured doll-collared shirts in lemon drop yellow, baby blue and bubblegum pink, succeeded by a range of check...
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2010s Japanese Rei Kawakubo

Comme des Garcons 1970's Fringed Shirt
By Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons
Located in Tương Mai Ward, Hoang Mai District
Size: Not listed, fits like a Medium. Condition: For a 40+ years old piece, the item is in perfect storage condition. Feels free to message us with any questions you have in mind r...
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1970s French Rei Kawakubo

Black Comme des Garcons Long Bomber Coat
By Rei Kawakubo, BLACK Comme des Garçons
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From "BLACK" Diffusion line by Comme Des Garcons. The piece is unisex and could be worn by both men and women Size: XXS, fits a size S to slim Medium Condition: There are light wr...
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2010s Japanese Rei Kawakubo

Comme des Garcons Shirt Polo Shirt
By Rei Kawakubo
Located in Tương Mai Ward, Hoang Mai District
Size: M Condition: 8,5/10. Feels free to message us with any questions regading inquiries.
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2010s Japanese Rei Kawakubo

Comme des Garcons Homme Plus S/S2006 Lips Pants
By Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons Homme Plus
Located in Tương Mai Ward, Hoang Mai District
Rare item from S/S2006 by Rei Kawakubo. Size: XS, fits a size 28-30 Condition: The item is in near pristine condition Feels free to message me with any questions regarding inquiri...
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Early 2000s Japanese Rei Kawakubo

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Rei Kawakubo fashion for sale on 1stDibs.

Find an extraordinary range of authentic Rei Kawakubo fashion available on 1stDibs. If you’re browsing our collection of unique vintage and designer fashion to elevate your daily look or to introduce new colors to the dazzling formal wear in your wardrobe, this designer’s body of work includes elements of pink, red and other tones. Most of the items here were designed during the 20th Century, but you can find examples that were created as recently as the 21st Century and Contemporary. Customers who are interested in this designer might also find the work of Issey Miyake, Undercover, and Sacai appealing. On 1stDibs, find haute couture, vintage and designer Rei Kawakubo fashion from top boutiques around the world. Rei Kawakubo fashion prices can differ depending upon time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $40 and tops out at $32,400, while the average work can sell for $1,080.

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