Comme des Garcons – Much like Jun Takahashi of Undercover, Rei Kawakubo is also considered one of the most influential designers from Asia. When Kawakubo founded Comme des Garçons in 1969, she shook the fashion world with handmade, dark, deconstructed garments that were hailed as anti-fashion and “Hiroshima Chic.” Although she has been media-shy throughout her career, she has created a clear identity for herself in the industry. Kawakubo has championed talent within her label, helping designers such as Junya Watanabe, Tao Kurihara and Kei Ninomiya create their own collections under the Comme des Garçons name. With multiple lines and collaborations, notable fans, and the 2017 Comme des Garçons retrospective at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Kawakubo has ensured the longevity of her legacy. Here, we take a look back at the biggest influences in Comme des Garçons’ history, from the designer who once said, “I have no inspiration.” If you want to learn more about other brands check out our fashion brand guide.
The history of Comme des Garcons
The umbrella of designer Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons brands is often referred to as the CdG Universe. However, we recently came to the conclusion – after re-watching one of our favorite superhero movies – that the term “multiverse” is a much more fitting description of the labyrinthine fashion house and its diverse sublabels.
Each label within the Comme multiverse offers its own reality of the Japanese brand, shaping Kawakubo’s radical spirit in new and experimental ways; from the bourgeois narrative at play in Comme des Garçons Homme Deux to the logo-centric world of CDG.
Five questions about Comme des Garcons
Here are 5 questions that better illustrate the story.
What does Comme des Garçons mean?
As you probably know – or at least have guessed – Comme des Garçons is a French term. Translated, the brand means “like the boys”: a name inspired by Françoise Hardy’s 1962 song “Tous les garçons et les filles” (All the boys and the girls).
Who is the founder of Comme des Garçons?
Rei Kawakubo is the pioneering founder and designer of Comme des Garçons and one of the most powerful women in fashion history. Born in Tokyo in 1942, Kawakubo studied fine arts and literature at Keio University before beginning her career in advertising (with a textile company) and later as a freelance stylist.
When was Comme des Garçons founded?
Kawakubo began designing clothes under the brand name Comme des Garçons in 1969, before officially founding the company in 1971. To date, the successful designer is responsible for the entire production of the brand.
When did Comme des Garçons become so popular?
From the beginning, Comme des Garçons was popular with the rich and beautiful, but it wasn’t until the late 1970s that the brand became a household name. Since then, CdG has been at the forefront of the fashion world and popular with people from all walks of life – hence the many sub-labels.
When was the first Comme des Garçons fashion show?
Comme des Garçons’ first runway show was at Paris Fashion Week in 1981. Surprisingly, Kawakubo’s first show was not well received. Critics even went so far as to insult the Japanese designer’s first collection, mainly because of the “excessive use of black”
The Comme des Garcons labels
There’s a label for everyone in the Comme des Garçons multiverse – discover each of them here.
Comme des Garcons Mainline
Comme des Garçons is – and always has been – disruptive, thought-provoking haute couture with an avant-garde sensibility at its core. Since the 1970s, Kawakubo has infused her norm-breaking ideologies into the brand, challenging industry (and beyond) perceptions through exaggerated silhouettes, contradictory prints, and conceptual, architectural aesthetics. It’s fair to say, then, that the fashion world would be far less groundbreaking without them.
Comme des Garcons Homme
To the delight of sophisticated 1970s dandies, Kawakubo announced that her first CdG diffusion line would focus on menswear – aptly titled Comme des Garçons Homme. The result was an inspiring collection of easy-to-wear pieces that offered elegant men a soft, conservative introduction to Kawakubo’s mindset. Today, the designer’s protégé Junya Watanabe collaborates with her at the sub-label, producing collections that represent an orthodox interpretation of the Comme des Garçons discourse.
Comme des Garcons Homme Plus
In the CdG multiverse, Comme des Garçons Homme Plus is the gender-neutral parallel to Kawakubo’s crazy original brand. Homme Plus is a direct translation of the designer’s idiosyncratic vision from womenswear to menswear, offering deconstructed, offbeat fashion for the elegant peacocks of the world.
Comme des Garcons Homme Deux
Comme des Garçons Homme Deux is the preppy take on Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons; a label primarily concerned with an old-school uniform of bourgeois blazers, schoolboy ties, and structured pants made with traditional Japanese techniques. Their timeless appeal is a credit to Kawakubo’s multi-faceted mind, which translates her CdG fantasies into clean, streamlined designs for Deux.
Junya Watanabe Comme des Garcons
What do you get when you combine sharp tailoring, deconstructive design, patchwork and bondage leather? No, not a new season of American Horror Story. We’re talking about Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons, of course. Once a humble pattern drafter at Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe worked hard to follow in his mentor’s footsteps. Eventually, Watanabe was named head of Comme des Garçons’ (discontinued) tricot knit line before launching his eponymous collection. Today, Watanabe’s trendsetting womenswear brand is not only one of the most popular labels within the Comme des Garçons multiverse, but also one of the most beloved high-fashion brands in the world.
Comme des Garcons PLAY
Play CdG, led by its iconic heart motif, is the ubiquitous brand of Kawakubo, as famous as its original label. In this reality of Comme des Garçons, streetwear is the main language. The basics such as short and long sleeve T-shirts, zipper hoodies, cardigans and sweatshirts are made of high quality cotton and feature the signature logo designed by Filip Pagowski.
Comme des Garcons BLACK
Only Rei Kawakubo would be brave enough to start a new sub-label in times of economic crisis, and that’s exactly what she did in 2008. Comme des Garçons BLACK focuses on a sneaker-like strategy and is the CdG of the hypebeast, creating elusive casual wear that is mainly black and white (hence the title).
Brands like Comme des Garcons
Here you will find brands like Comme des Garcons.
Jun Takahashi of Undercover is one of the most famous designers from Asia. With Undercover he hit the zeitgeist of streetwear perfectly. More about the designer and the history of his brand in our article.
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