Rei Kawakubo received the 2019 Isamu Noguchi Award
May 15 2019
"I always wanted to use fashion as a tool, as a material to make a business out of creation. I wanted to be independent, make a business and work." "I don't sketch or style".
Rei Kawakubo, Japanese designer, 76 years old, founder of the brand Comme des Garçons and also co-founder of the international retail enterprise Dover Street Market, received the 2019 Isamu Noguchi Award. This is an annual prize given to an artist and designer with a "spirit of innovation, global consciousness, and commitment to east/west cultural exchange", in line with the work of late Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi.
She said she was surprised to be chosen for the award, but believes it may be because she and Noguchi – who worked across different disciplines in a variety of mediums – are considered kindred spirits.
However this was not her first prize… Her work was the subject of a 2017 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She also received the Excellence in Design Award from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 2000.
Comme des Garçon’s unique style - Rei’s singular creation process
"I have always started from zero, trying to make something that didn't exist before," she explained. "The process of creation is done mostly by words and imagination.""I don't sketch or style. It's a unique way of working, I don't think anybody else works like that," she added.
Comme des Garçons is one of the most influential fashion houses, with stores in many countries, including Japan, the United States, France and the United Kingdom.
Picture : Rei Kawakubo photographed by Paolo Roversi