Comme des Garçons

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Interesting Facts

Japanese Rei Kawakubo studied art and literature in Tokyo and worked in marketing and as a freelance stylist before founding Comme des Garçons in 1969 - because she couldn't find any fashion she liked.

The name ("so like boys") had no substantive connection to the products - the first men's collection wasn't launched until 1984 - but simply appealed to Rei Kawakubo, who knew the line from a Françoise Hardy song, from the sound of it.

The young brand quickly caused a sensation when it presented collections that were far removed from any fashion aesthetic of the time: torn, holey, strangely "broken" looking in dark, streaky, faded and "dirty" looking colors.

This rebellion against fashion convention was - despite the shocked reaction of the trade press and critics - very successful: the self-confident reinterpretation or counterinterpretation of beauty and the search for beauty in the supposedly unattractive became the unmistakable look of Comme des Garçons fashion.

Kawakubo wants to go against the commercialization of fashion with something inherently commercial, wants to explicitly design against the tastes of the majority, and rejects mass compatibility. She says she is dissatisfied with any collection that people spontaneously like, because she then has to assume that she has not challenged the viewers enough.

Fashion is art, not merchandise. It is presented as an art object and is part of an overall concept. For example, CdG had a store designed by an architect to match the overall idea, which was also the basis for a fashion collection. This idea made school (e.g. Prada took it up), which moved Rei Kawakubo to abandon this concept immediately.

A student and a pupil of Kawakubo became chief designers of Comme des Garçons alongside her: assistant Junya Watanabe and (later) assistant Tao Kurihara, who each have their own small brands alongside the big one.

To this day, the CdG style holds this philosophy of "opposites" and surprises again and again with unusual actions. For example, the "guerrilla stores": in a run-down neighborhood, a Cdg brand store is operated for only one year. After that, it is closed again - no matter how it went.

In 1994, the brand launched its first fragrance: "Comme des Garçons Eau de Parfum." The perfume by Rei Kawakubo (with perfumer Mark Buxton) was so successful that two fragrances (parallel to the fashion season collections) have been produced every year since then. The rejection of the mainstream is also the principle of CdG perfumes.

Furthermore, fragrance lines are designed in which a single fragrance theme is consistently pursued over several perfumes, thus staging a fragrance character in various manifestations and manifestations ("Leaves", "Red", "Incense", "Cologne", "Sherbet", "Synthetic", "Sweet", "Energy"). Especially in these series is not afraid of synthetic notes. The decisive factor is the fragrance impression achieved, not the way it is made. Neither is the wearability.

Just as the clothing fashion of Comme des Garçons sees itself as art and does not care about such things, the fragrance fashion of the brand is also independent and does not strive to be pleasing.
Research and text by LouceLouce