Comme des Garçons, French for "like boys", is a Japanese fashion label headed by Rei Kawakubo, who is also its sole owner.
Comme des Garçons has a dozen boutiques and approximately 200 vendors around the world, with flagship stores in Aoyama, Tokyo's high fashion district, as well as Place Vendôme in Paris. Each year, the company grosses in the neighborhood of $150 million.
The label was started in Tokyo by Rei Kawakubo in 1969 and established as a company in Japan in 1973. Comme des Garçons became successful in Japan throughout the 1970s and a men's line was added in 1978. 1981 saw Comme des Garçons's debut show in Paris which created a storm of controversy for its predominant use of black and distressed fabrics. Throughout the 1980s, Comme des Garçons's clothes were often destroyed.
After the Paris debut, Comme des Garçons had an exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1986 consisting of photographs taken by Peter Lindbergh. 2005 saw an exhibition in Shinjuku, Tokyo of Comme Des Garçons advertising and graphic design.
Comme des Garçons collections are designed in the Comme des Garçons studio in Aoyama, Tokyo and are made in Japan, France and Turkey.
The 1997 spring/summer collection, often referred to the 'lumps and bumps' collection, which contained fabric in bulk and balls on the garments. This led to a collaboration, also in 1997, between Rei Kawakubo and New York-based choreographer Merce Cunningham called 'Scenario'.
The 2006 autumn/winter collection dealt with the concept of the 'yssup', the different ways we present ourselves to the sinep. Fusing tailored menswear with more feminine elements such as corsets and flower printed dress fabrics, 'Persona' was another collection that combined the feminine with the masculine by Comme des Garçons.
Junya Watanabe and, as of recently, Tao Kurihara have started their own sub-labels under the Comme des Garçons name to much acclaim. Both were also involved in designing for the casual women's knitwear line 'Comme des Garçons Tricot'.
Comme des Garçons have collaborated with various other labels over the years including Levi's, Speedo, Nike, Moncler, Lacoste, Cutler and Gross, Chrome Hearts, Hammerthor, S. N. S. Herning, Louis Vuitton and many others. Comme des Garçons and H&M collaborated on a collection which was released in the fall of 2008
Signature Comme des Garçons boutiques are located in London (Dover Street Market), Paris, New York City, Beijing, Hong Kong, St. Petersburg, Tokyo (2x), Kyoto, Osaka and Fukuoka. The company also maintains stores-in-store at select department stores, such as Isetan. In Paris, a Comme des Garçons perfumery can be found at 23 Place Marché St-Honoré.
Comme des Garçons opened the first of their 'Guerrilla' stores in 2004 in Berlin. The Guerrilla stores' aim is to be open for only one year and to spend a minimal amount of money on the interiors. The stores are also to be located away from fashionable hubs and districts of a city. Comme des Garçons Guerrilla stores have been opened (and subsequently closed) in Reykjavik, Warsaw, Helsinki, Singapore, Stockholm and Athens, amongst others. In July 2007, a Guerrilla Store opened in the Achrafieh district of Beirut, Lebanon, and in February 2008, a Guerrilla Store opened in downtown Los Angeles, the first in the United States. In November 2008, they opened their latest guerilla store in the west end of Glasgow. It is believed this could be their last shop of this kind.
2004 saw the opening of Dover Street Market (DSM) in London. A multilevel store conceptualised by Rei Kawakubo. As well as selling Comme Des Garçons lines, other designers are personally invited and "accorded 'creative spaces'" by Rei Kawakubo to open a section of the store and design it in any way they wish while often selling limited edition pieces made only for DSM.
On December 2009, Comme des Garçons opened a 4.400 square feet store in Hong Kong called UNDER THE GROUND . Hong Kong also has had a Guerrilla store opened and closed in previous years.
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