Rei Kawakubo Talks About Never Wanting to Do the Met Exhibit and Her Biggest Failure

“It’s a Met show for COMME des GARÇONS, not a COMME des GARÇONS show at the Met.”

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Fashion
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As fans eagerly await next month’s launch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s exhibit, “Rei Kawakubo/COMME des GARÇONS: Art of the In-Betweeen”, VOGUE took the opportunity for some talk time with iconic designer, Rei Kawakubo for an in-depth interview about herself and the show. Known for her shyness, the COMME des GARÇONS founder genuinely opened up about her unwillingness to do the Met exhibit, her work ethic, and high-profile status. Kawakubo also shared her appreciation for Steve McQueen’s work (12 Years a Slave and Kanye West’s “All Day” and “I Feel Like That”) and thinks New York is all about work. Read some of the excerpts below and catch the full interview here.

On the success of the brand:

“I am just working day-to-day with what I believe . . . just dealing with my work—just like everybody else.”

On the her legendary status:

“It’s a halfway thing. It’s like something on the road to something—it’s not a final thing. There’s no guarantee. Maybe after the Met I won’t be able to make anything? Maybe the company will go down; I’m not sure.”

On how she never wanted to do a retrospective exhibit:

“It’s a Met show for COMME des GARÇONS, not a COMME des GARÇONS show at the Met.”

On what she considers her biggest failure:

“Maybe the fact that it’s such hard work to do what I do and so much torture and living in hell and getting so tired working dawn to midnight every day for the last 40 years—maybe that would be called a failure in some sense.”

On what she plans to wear to the Met:

[Shakes her head, no]

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