A Real Fashion Expert. Really. Harold Koda Talks About Rei Kawakubo: Founder of Comme des Garçons at MOCA Detroit.


Clothing items by Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo

If you’re a Detroit fashion-lover or want to take a fashion road trip MOCA Detroit is the place to be!

The Metropolitan Museum in New York’s Curator-in-Charge of the Costume Institute presents on the influence of Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme des Garçons. Tom Ford of Gucci calls The Costume Institute “one of the most influential cultural institutions in the fashion world.” During his tenure as Curator-in-Chief, Harold Koda has overseen 15 exhibitions at The Metropolitan Museum including Extreme Beauty: The Body Transformed (2001), AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion (2006) Nan Kempner: American Chic (2006) and Chanel (2005), in addition to his extensive body of work in his years at the Edward C. Blum Design Laboratory of the Fashion Institute of Technology. Koda has co-authored over 18 books, including 10 landmark catalogue exhibitions organized with the late Richard Martin for the Metropolitan Museum including acclaimed shows such as Diana Vreeland: Immoderate Style (1993), Orientalism (1994), and Christian Dior (1996). Highlights of Koda’s work also include the 2000 Giorgio Armani exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Known for his innovative conjunctions of past and present designers, Harold Koda provides a uniquely historical perspective interpreting Kawakubo’s influence on fashion, art, and aesthetics as one of the world’s leading experts. Like his friend Rei Kawakubo, Koda’s interest in aesthetics took a sharp turn from fashion to design as he completed formal studies in Landscape Architecture at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University before returning back to the fashion realm proper. Kawakubo calls working with Koda ‘revolutionary,’ and Detroit gets a personal taste of Koda’s elegant and fetching humour at this special lecture.
Rei Kawakubo (b. 1942), established the high fashion house Comme des Garçons in Tokyo in 1973. Kawakubo’s concepts originate from her education in fine arts and literature rather than a formal fashion design training. Driven by concepts, she is known for conveying her ideas verbally to her patternmakers to interpret. Kawakubo is considere3d a key figure in re-defining sexual identity in new terms of feminity, and is often discussed in the company of such figures as Coco Chanel, Ela  Shiaparelli, and Vivienne Westwood. With the introduction of her line in Paris in 1981, Kawakubo created a sensation with her androgynous and innovative design, and solidified her stature as one of the three major avant-garde designers from Japan, alongside Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto.
For more information on weekly programs, films, music, literary readings and performances, go to www.mocadetroit.org. The exhibition closes April 20, 2008. This event is free and open to the public.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit is located at 4454 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48201. Reach us by phone at (313) 832-6622.  Museum hours are 11-5 Wednesdays and Sundays; 11-8 Thursday – Saturday, unless otherwise posted.  — Amy Ko

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