2017 Met Gala to Honor Comme des Garcons Designer Rei Kawakubo

Comme des Garcons Spring 2017 Show - Getty - P 2016
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Katy Perry and Pharrell will serve as co-chairs.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that the Costume Institute's spring 2017 exhibition will focus on famed Comme des Garcons designer Rei Kawakubo.

The exhibition, which will be held in the museum's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall on the second floor, will feature approximately 120 womenswear designs that Kawakubo, who's known to be extremely private, has designed for the Japanese brand Comme des Garcons. It will feature pieces from her first Paris show in 1981 to her most recent collection that blur the lines between fashion and art.

"In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing," said Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of The Met, in a press statement. "Curator Andrew Bolton will explore work that often looks like sculpture in an exhibition that will challenge our ideas about fashion's role in contemporary culture."

Unlike at some previous exhibitions held at the Costume Institute, there will be no glass barriers separating museum attendees from being up-close to the clothes. The mannequins will be at eye level, too. 

"Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years," said Bolton, curator in charge of The Costume Institute, in a release. "By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time."

The "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons" exhibition marks the second time the museum has highlighted a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.

"I have always pursued a new way of thinking about design ... by denying established values, conventions and what is generally accepted as the norm," said Kawakubo. "And the modes of expression that have always been most important to me are fusion ... imbalance ... unfinished ... elimination ... and absence of intent."

The 2017 Met Gala will be held Monday, May 1, with Katy Perry and Pharrell, who's previously collaborated with Comme des Garcons on a fragrance, serving as co-chairs alongside Anna WintourKawakubo will serve as honorary chair.