Rei Kawakubo’s mysterious and artistic mind challenges the status quo of the sartorial universe, turning away from the traditional ideals of beauty and embracing a free-form, concept-rich approach. Inspired by the lyrics of a 1962 Françoise Hardy song, she established Comme des Garçons in 1969 with the intention of offering women, “like boys” clothes that have mobility and comfort. With no formal training in fashion, Kawakubo is a true trailblazer, blurring gender norms, as well as the lines between art and fashion. The legendary designer studied fine art and aesthetics at Keio University in Tokyo. While the collections result more from her personal reactions to global conditions, Comme des Garçons has explored themes of escapism and existential “nothingness”, as well as referenced elements from the Victorian era. Voluminous, avant-garde shapes yield an unconventional and playful aesthetic that showcases deconstructed, couture fabrics often in black. Kawakubo has gained an array of prestigious awards over the years, inspiring numerous designers with her innovations, and currently boasts over 20 distinct lines and many memorable collaborations.