The Met Gala is known for asking its guests to think outside the box when it comes to their costumes. Over the years, Anna Wintour’s huge annual party – thrown to mark the opening of a new fashion exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute in New York – has required attendees to come in outfits inspired by everything from Napoleon to 18th century furniture.
And the theme of this year’s exhibition and gala, “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons”, is likely to prompt even more avant-garde get-ups than usual.
Japanese designer Kawakubo, who founded fashion house Comme des Garçons in Tokyo in 1973, is known for her eccentric, austere clothing – most of which looks more like an art installation than something you’d buy in Topshop.
“Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past forty years,” said the Costume Institute’s curator in charge, Andrew Bolton. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.”
The gala, on 1 May 2017, will be the first time an exhibition at the Costume Institute has focused on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent show in 1983. Kawakubo, 74, will serve as honorary chair, alongside Anna Wintour, Pharrell Williams and Katy Perry.
On the day of the announcement, Perry – who is currently on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton – tweeted, “Guess this means it's time to get out of my tracksuit...”
“In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing,” said Thomas P. Campbell, The Met’s director and CEO. “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.”
“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.”
We’d better get cracking on our fusion-imbalance-and-elimination-inspired costumes, then. We’re sure our invites are in the post.
Main image: Getty