back to black (GET IT? because that album played all throughout the aw 08 show? and because the new label is called BLACK?)

My friend Eden (he's your friend too but you don't know it) linked me to this article earlier today and since it is relevant to my interests I decided to share. How selfless!cdg/vogue nippon temp store at colette via nyt

So basically Comme des Garcons is honoring its 40th Anniversary by starting a new label called BLACK. The article is by Suzy Menkes and it's beautifully written but all I really care about is what Rei says, as translated by her husband (her other husband, not me, of course). PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT REI MAY KINDLY BE ESCORTED OFF THE PREMISES KTHNX.via interview
“I really felt that I was on my own. I never felt my work had anything to do with being a woman. I am not a feminist. I was never interested in any movement as such. I just decided to make a company built around creation, and with creation as my sword, I could fight the battles I wanted to fight."
"It is true to say that I ‘design’ the company, not just clothes. Creation does not end with just the clothes. New interesting business ideas, revolutionary retail strategies, unexpected collaborations, nurturing of in-house talent, all are examples of Comme des Garçon’s creation."
“I start every collection with one word. I can never remember where this one word came from. I never start a collection with some historical, social, cultural or any other concrete reference or memory. After I find the word, I then do not develop it in any logical way. I deliberately avoid any order to the thought process after finding the word and instead think about the opposite of the word, or something different to it, or behind it.”
“The technique is intellectual because I am using my brain, but the result is shaped through instinct and emotion.”

“What is important to me is information. Through my collections, other product projects and through my graphic work, or by collaborating with artists and photographers, I like to tell a story. Without news, nothing is alive. The final result of everything must say something. Information deepens the work.

So, if anything, I am maybe more of a journalist than an artist!"

Fangirling aside, it's always interesting to hear what she has to say about her views on fashion, in both the design and business perspectives. In her Interview interview she said she doesn't believe fashion is art. I don't think fashion is art, but I do think clothing is, though this also depends on your definition of art itself. It also surprises me in a way to learn she doesn't consider herself a feminist (Comme des Garcons is, after all, one of the first-if not the first-labels to introduce androgyny on a runway, and also to completely spit on any common beauty ideals for women), but this also depends on one's definition of a feminist. I think she would be making the same clothes if she wasn't a woman. It's incredibly neat to hear anything she has to say since she doesn't talk much at all, even if I disagree sometimes.
guerrilla store in la
cdg japan
If I may, I would like to point out that she stated she likes to tell a story through her collections, and all the way back in September I said I like to tell a story through outfits. We probz meant it in different ways and I don't mean to flatter myself to the level of Her Highness but OMG OK WE ARE TOTAL TWINZ.

Anyway, I'm excited for this new label. It sounds to be more promising than PLAY, the silly and boring, more commercial line of t-shirts and sweaters with hearts on them, which is sadly the only Comme I can afford. The name itself shows it will be more endearing clothing, more exciting. BLACK, PLAY. Yeah.via nyt

I mean, the image for PLAY I got off an absurd man in shutter shades' Myspace page and the image was placed right next to one of the BAPE logo, if that tells you anything. So hopefully BLACK won't be on anyone's myspace. Just in my closet! Yes?aw 09
But really, I think the main reason I value every word Rei Kawakubo speaks so much is just because it simply reminds me why I love clothing. The other day I went to all of the bookstores in our downtown area and remembered why Amazon is so great-all the books that these stores carried under "fashion" were about tips and dos and don'ts and I heaved a great sigh and walked out and kicked at stupid rocks on the ground. Stupid rocks that looked like the Olsens and the What Not to Wear hosts and Tim Gunn and Tyra. The thing is, though, Comme des Garcons isn't weird for the sake of being weird or rule-breaking just for the sake of being ~edgy. Then it would be on latfh or something! I mean, you read what she said above. It's emotional and it's thoughtful, and there is actual effort involved. The label does break rules, and it is weird, but by coincidence. Rei Kawakubo started the label because she wasn't happy with the clothing she was given to work with as a young stylist in the 60's. Though one goal of Comme is to create clothing that hasn't been seen before or a perfume with an unidentifiable scent, I don't think it's to prove how incredibly revolutionary the label is. I think this goal is a very good motive for creativity, and a way to not be lazy. A way to avoid stupid easy-way-outs like "classic with a twist." Rei Kawakubo doesn't need to prove anything to anyone, really. I don't think she cares.


Hazel said...

Rei, is honestly the only designer that I can confidently say has hands on activity for every aspect of the company. I can see her vision in the clothing, labels, store design, and more.

Someone like Karl Lagerfeld, or even Alexander Mcqueen, have stunning visions. Though they have a team of people (so does Rei) that helps them with the collection, marketing, and everything...but there's a difference between Rei and the others. I feel like her vision is so strong, so independent in it's creativity, that it's hard to imagine anyone else even adding or tweaking her ideas. And they don't.

She's more of an icon than any designer I know.
She's amazing.

God damn I will never be over those lavender suits in the...Spring 08? collection!!!!

Vermine said...

What matters:

- She isn't weird for the sake of being weird because she doesn't see art and emotions as a finality. She goes beyond this. Art and emotions are only tools for her, that's why she can transcend them.
In her own words:
" with creation as my sword "

Which leads to the second key point: she sees herself as a fighter.
" I could fight the battles I wanted to fight. "

Every single major master piece is about fighting. Be it for life, or happiness, or human condition.

Man is beautiful when He fights, not on the couch scratching His balls or picking His nose.

Art has to have a superior aim than its own fatuitous, nombrilistic, aghast and sterile contemplation.
Powerful art always goes against.
And anger is the fuel of gods.

Katy said...

I could be all appreciative and intellectual but I could also just say SHE ROCKS. I LOVE HER.

Stacy said...

i am completely infatuated with rei.
i also like the picture of with the pink hair/face cover, very nice

ps- love all the changes you've made, they look great!

Ashley said...

You are intelligent beyond your years. If an amazing fashion mag doesn't hire you to write for them in the future, they're idiots.
I love to read what you have to say about fashion and related subject..especially on the things that you are really passionate about, such as Comme des Garçons and Rei Kawakubo. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, although the "I'm not a feminist" comment seems to be addressing feminist stereotypes rather than ideals. To me, feminism means believing in/protecting equal rights for women, but whatev. That's my only complaint.


Isabel said...

I really wish that amazing women like Rei WOULD label themselves feminists, so they could change the negative stereotypes instead of trying to avoid them.

AFitz said...

hey now.
lets not take it out onthe olsen twins.

AFitz said...

No but really though.
It is funny whenever I read about Rei, how much I admire her but all the parts where I disagree with her. Obviously, on the feminist part - she is somewhat of a feminist in my mind, because she is a female in a high position of a very competitive industry creating strong clothing with a very individual, innovative sense of creation - as in, she's doing stuff other people aren't, and not being forced to work under some male designer. Everything she creates is very distincly Rei, and I have to wonder way such a strong woman has issues labelling herself as a feminist - maybe she means "I'm all for equal rights, but I'm not that kinda feminist" but I dunno, she seems smarter than that. I'm sorry, I'm getting all hung up on that one little sentence.
The other part I disagree with is where she says fashion isn't art...I read that a while ago in another fashion book and wanted to get your opinion on that. This one, while my own philosophy differs, I can write off as the fact that she is smarter - I'm sure she's past the whole elementary "fashion isn't just about pretty shoes! It's about expression!" that so many people use when trying to convert non-believers to the way of the holy Fashion Week. Mostly, this makes me want to dissect her words more - she's such a fascinating person that I can spend hours disecting what she says and what she means and how it influences her vision.

Emy Augustus said...

I have to admit, the whole 'not a feminist' thing confuses me too. I heard it first from articles about Ayn Rand. I'm almost not surprised to hear it from Rei even though I don't know THAT much about her.

I think I understand slightly more why some women would choose to not label themselves as a feminist. I have a friend who is really good with math and computers (which studies have shown are typical 'boy' subjects) yet she says she would not call herself a feminist and isn't even sure what that is.

I think feminism like all theories of thought has flaws and maybe people like ayn and rei can just see the flaws very clearly and would rather be seen as an individual rather than as part of the group, Women???

altho to me, feminism was always mainly about seeing women as individuals.

bobb said...

An excellent article on Rei. Your posts and the commentary here, are really insightful. , As Hazel said, it's Rei's strength and independent vision that makes her the icon she is.


Her stance on feminism makes perfect sense to me. Women have come a long, long way in the past 100 years. Sure, we still have some progress to make, but for the most part there's equal opportunity amongst the sexes, imo. At least in the modern world.

Unfortunately, many self-proclaimed feminists in recent years take a woman SUPERIOR stance, and it's for that reason that many women dodge the feminist label like the plague. Worse yet are self proclaimed 'feminists' who've latched on to the term as a means to market to young girls AND justify their bimbo images at once.

It's not about gender crusading anymore, it's about being reckognised for your work as an individual - regardless of what gender you may be. She's such a revolutionary, and revolutions are about breaking down barriers - not erecting them : ).

But anyway....... BLACK!!! Should be amazing indeed.

xoxo, SarahJayne @ Knockout Vintage Clothing

J.Yo said...

hmmm new Rei muse. must follow.



it's a shame the CDG guerilla store closed before you got to LA! that would've been amazing if you couldve checked it out. i used to just walk around in awe and drool over all the amazing things i could not afford. it was like being in a museum surrounded by beautiful beautiful pieces of art. except it looked more like a freezer at a butchers. awesome.

Soren Lorensen said...

hey i'm kinda slow

but you explain these things real good

so thank you for that

Richard Kilroy said...

"Stupid rocks that looked like the Olsens and the What Not to Wear hosts and Tim Gunn and Tyra"

The best sentence/metaphor i've ever read on a fashion blog. EVER.

Nanna said...

Hi Tavi (and all you guys from around the world who leave interesting comments),

Just wanna say THANKS for making my favourite blog. So inspiring, independent, fun. Especially in posts like this one.

All the best,
Nanna in Denmark.

ryan said...

Rookie is a term for a person who is in their first year of play of their sport and has little or no professional experience.

Kylie said...

I love it when you gush about Rei, it's all about the love really. I've thought about the idea of trying to portray and idea or story behind clothes, and although I think many artists/designers set out to do this, and they are creating for the expression of deep and personal emotions, I really don't think its the way most people attempt to dress in their everyday life. I seriosly applaud anyone who can do this, but for me it's extremly difficult and I usually just end up wearing/buying things that are eye catching. For the most part I am quite shallow about fashion, but I KNOW that clothing as an art form is not shallow, and it's incredibly difficult to convert an emotion or concept or feeling into visual, wearable representations. I honestly wish I could tell more of a story with my clothing, as I feel at this point I'm just focused on the surface. I just gotta get digging down deeper...

hows that for a long comment? Anyhooz, I'm liking the new layout. The profile pic is gorgous, what an awesome illustration!


Lisa? said...

I love that you said Comme 'isn't weird for the sake of being weird or rule-breaking just for the sake of being ~edgy.'People need to understand that a certain amount of intelligence must be applied to fashion.

Lisa? said...

I love that you said Comme 'isn't weird for the sake of being weird or rule-breaking just for the sake of being ~edgy.'People need to understand that a certain amount of intelligence must be applied to fashion.

Vermine said...

Rei doesn't endorse feminism because it's littered with bitter cunts (yeah pun) too blind to see they fight fights that are already won and that their bitching is in reality only slowing things down and does actually more harm than good.

They should read " The psychology of the slave" by Nietzsche. Feeble, mediocre, and "slave" personnalities constantly bitch and bark. Powerful ones remain silent and instead do, act and create.

"The will to power", you want to read this shit, mafakas.


As far as story telling my Sunday outfits are plenty dense.
Shirt tells I had Martini Rosso, jacket apparently and subtely evocates some pizza, overall silhouette suggests I smoked quite a bit, collars personnifies a blue lipstick kiss, how poetic can a collar be, and the "prolly slept on the concrete in front of my doorstep" touch is totally conceptualized by the hole in my pocket.

Sunday morning outfits FTW.

EJ said...

Such an inspiring post - i agree with literally everything you've mentioned.
Also, check out UK Vogue this month if you can (i noticed in earlier post that you mentioned you like it). I just picked it up from Tesco and it has a pretty cool Liu Wen spread.

dust said...

I think Rei would be the happiest camper if we would try to just to accept the things she said, not judge them. If she says that she's not a feminist and fashion is not art, those are statements from her perspective and that is how we should look at them. Cos that's her truth, understand it or not, but don't judge it.

Lucy said...

I've always been fashinated by Rei. I have an urge to scream GENIOUS! whenever she says something and whenever I see any of her creations. Yes, I just did it again. Whatever.
I could never do a proper review on her work... it would be just a silly essey meaning GENIOUS!

Anonymous said...

hey. awesome blog. just wanted to give major props. absolutely fabulous. :]

check out mine sometime?

Becky said...

Ugh..Knockout Clothing and Vermine and Rei is so annoying that you are ashamed of being labeled "feminists"
I'm sorry Tavi, to rain on your Rei parade, but really. I designed clothing for a huge company and about 99% of the other shittily paid employees were woman. Guess what...the billionaire CEO and board members were all men. Sara Jayne needs to get her facts straight because this is unfortunately the norm in most companies including including the fashion industry. Woman are still getting paid less than men for the same jobs.
I consider myself to be moderate, but facts are facts.
I think its really sad that Rei does not consider herself a feminist. I do think she is a genius and I love my Odeur 53 perfume and hope it never goes out of production

Vermine said...

Becky, honey, do you think thousands of years of male domination, cultural tendencies (girls are more inclined to learn fashion related jobs than men which is btw one of the main reason 99% of the shitty paid employees are women, because well... most employees are women... Also about the CEO stuff of course there's discrimination but there's also a lot more men who study marketing and economy than women. I'm not even talking about pure biological aspects of things. Do you think men's hands are better suited to sew pearls and that women's hands are the tits to build roads, yeah... Another interesting fact is recent studies have found that women who have high responsabilities jobs generally have a more masculine shoulders to waist ratio, broader shoulders. Which means hormones levels are also a part of the equation. So yeah things arn't as simplistic as a fucking feminist manifesto.) so yeah, do you really think all this is gonna be reversed in the blink of an eye?

It's been going really fast already lately.

Perspective, the big picture etc...

Of course it would be nice if it could be faster but you gotta give time to time ya know?

And barking only makes things slower.

Never bitch. Act.

Becky said...

You think that broad shoulders make you a man? You think that speaking out doesn't = action? You think gender is a result of cultural "tendencies" and not social constructions? You think that by writing that rant you aren't "barking"? You think you aren't a hypocrite? Vermaine, honey, go to college.

Karl Lagerfeld said...

Hazel, I think you'll find that I'm involved in every aspect of Chanel. I even shoot the campaigns! Chanel was considered dead before I started designing it, after Coco died and a bunch of assistants designed boring clothes which almost pushed the company into bankruptcy.

As for "adding or tweaking her ideas", Comme is in a constant process of tweaking by many people. She barely designs any of the clothes herself- she often uses designs of assistants based on her "idea" for the collection. The collection constantly evolves based on the input of many designers at the company. Also, The Dover Street Market is her husband's baby. Read the "Japanese Fashion Revolution in Paris" for more information, hmm? And besides, I do drinks with Rei.

I do wonder if Rei would be asked that annoying question- "are you a feminist?"- if she were a man, but was designing the same clothes. It's her work that matters- not what she labels herself.

Vermine said...

Barky, my little fart, yeah let's speak about college. And skillz for that matter.

I'll ride this thematic since your post is absolutely empty of any arguments. Just a bunch of irrelevant questions clusterfucking the hell of why I wrote. Obvz reading wasn't your master degree.

" You think that broad shoulders make you a man? "
Nope. Not why I wrote. I'm getting fed up quick here with your myopia but briefly: shoulders girth is a marker of testosterone levels. Hormones and behaviours are closely linked. Go read.

" You think that speaking out doesn't = action? "
You really don't get it dontcha? Action =/= reaction. Words, they mean things. Don't spend energy saying you don't like something, CREATE something that destroys what you don't like. Which is what Rei did. She didn't spoke out about women having rights and needing equality. She created something that shows it can be achieved. Waaaaay better. Unkle K said it in other words: "It's her work that matters- not what she labels herself."
Create, show. Cut the smoke screen sterile blahblah.

" You think gender is a result of cultural "tendencies" and not social constructions? "
My goodness, we're so far away from what I wrote I don't even know how we got there...

" You think that by writing that rant you aren't "barking"? "
I see arithmetics wasn't your master degree neither. When you bark at someone barking it annulates the negative content of one's barking. Elementary.

" You think you aren't a hypocrite? "
If I am what you ASSume I am, I logically can't honestly answer that q. So don't ask.


Yeah, college, you're one fucking college text book case of a blind, deaf, monologing, "moderate" (this adjunction is hilarious) feminist who can't effin read life.

Alright enough. I already spent too much of my precious time on that shit. So did you. I also won't respond to any hypothetical response so don't sweat it.

Kiss and have a good life. Sincerely.


vermine, 6:28 am? on a fashion blog?

for the record, rei didn't topple male domination with the clean cut of a well designed dress. she is a fashion designer for christ sakes. at the end of the day, nothing more.

Vermine said...

Time zone? Anyone? Bueller?

"the work of a common woman" it pains me to write this but that was actually the point of the whole article: Rei is more than a fashion designer.


"I just decided to make a company built around creation, and with creation as my sword, I could fight the battles I wanted to fight."

what is she? a community organizer? a human rights activist? i feel the scars of the rwandan genocide melting away. those 20,000+ children born of systematic rape as a weapon of war because women are still seen as a possession to be conquered can feel the effect of that rei kawakabo's body of work. im sure of it.

i enjoy fashion and particularly rei kawakabo, in it's place. but to trump any woman who states she isn't a feminist is wrong. feminism is a human rights issue. its treating women as humans.

AFitz said...

oh my god.

There was a feminist debate going on in your blog comments....

God dammit.


"Sara Jayne needs to get her facts straight because this is unfortunately the norm in most companies including including the fashion industry."

Becky, you can make a point without resorting to insults and ridiculous assumptions.

All you're doing is re-enforcing the NEGATIVE stereotype of the 'whining bitch' feminist that REAL alpha-females despise, that give feminism a bad name.

Anonymous said...

creating a dialogue is not the same as being a whinning bitch. becky was not insulting. calling someone a whinning bitch is insulting.

Unknown said...

Oi, Tavi!!!
Adorei o seu blog, é extremamente sofisticada e inovadora suas criações.
abraços fraternos do Brasil!!!!

Renata e Gabriela