Cape, shorts, socks and boots, 2014. Blood and Roses collection. Spring – Summer 2015 (detail) Comme des Garçons. Designer: Rei Kawakubo

Presenting the work of a unique designer, the National Gallery of Victoria is proud to present a compilation of Comme des Garçons pieces in Australia’s first exhibition dedicated to the trailblazing designer Rei Kawakubo. 

Titled, Collecting Comme, the exhibition celebrates the innovative design and ongoing influence of contemporary fashion label Comme des Garçons.

Showcasing more than 65 outfits by the visionary designer, drawn from more than 40 collections, the exhibition will also include 13 additional works designed by Kawakubo’s protégés Junya Watanabe and Tao Kurihara.

Drawn from the NGV’s significant Comme des Garçons collection, gifted to the Gallery by donor Takamasa Takahashi, and including loans from his personal collection, the exhibition will examine the radical concepts and design methods that have informed Kawakubo’s practice for almost five decades.

Comme des Garçons, Tokyo, (fashion house) Japan established 1969. Designer: Rei Kawakubo

Collecting Comme will explore Kawakubo’s work from the time of her first presentation in Paris in 1981. Known for defying convention, Kawakubo has redefined fashion throughout her career, subverting garment shape and function, reframing ideas of beauty, and proposing a new relationship between the body and clothing.

During the 1980s, Kawakubo’s collections highlighted her experimental approach to construction and form with oversized and asymmetrical garments, exploring the nuances of black through texture and dye. 

Throughout the 1990s, Kawakubo’s work continued to examine existing ideas of fashion. She contested definitions of beauty and taste, experimented with atypical fabrics and deconstructed ideas about gender and women’s social roles. Featuring some of Kawakubo’s most radical statements to date, Collecting Comme will include three works from the Body Meets Dress-Dress Meets Body collection; spring–summer 1997. 

Lochie Barnett wearing Comme des Garcons vest Homme (Spring 2018). Styled by Gustavo Pallacios. Photo by © Eugene Hyland

"I would like for people to look at Kawakubo’s work with an open mind: to question what they are looking at and consider the story behind the creation of the garment,’ said Takamasa Takahashi, a collector of Comme and NGV donor to this significant collection.  View the works of a designer committed to making garments that transcend and break the boundaries of structure and form - see: 


Dates: 31 October 2019 – 26 July 2020

Location: NGV International - 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 

Time: 10am - 5pm daily NGV Website