Comme des Garcons accused of cultural appropriation over cornrow wigs

Officials at Comme des Garcons have issued an apology after they were accused of cultural appropriation for having models wear cornrow wigs during their latest Paris Fashion Week show. The Japanese fashion brand, headed up by Rei Kawakubo, debuted its…

Officials at Comme des Garcons have issued an apology after they were accused of cultural appropriation for having models wear cornrow wigs during their latest Paris Fashion Week show.

The Japanese fashion brand, headed up by Rei Kawakubo, debuted its fall 2020 menswear collection in Paris on Friday, showcasing an array of colourful, patterned clothing.

However, it was the styling of the models that caught people’s attention, as the catwalk stars headed down the runway wearing lace-front wigs designed to resemble cornrows, although some black models sported their own hair.

Critics were quick to call out the brand for cultural appropriation, with the team behind fashion watchdog Diet Prada deeming the decision to be “a step back” and “problematic”, while other social media users branded it “offensive”.

Hairstylist Julien d’Ys, who has collaborated with Kawakubo for many years, responded to the backlash by insisting he had been inspired by an “Egyptian prince” look and had not intended to offend anyone.

“Dear all, my inspiration for the comme des garcons show was Egyptian prince – a look I found truly beautiful and inspirational. A look that was an hommag (sic),” he wrote on Instagram. “Never was it my intention to hurt or offend anyone, ever. If I did, I deeply apologise.”

Representatives for the brand issued a similar apology to Dazed, with them insisting, “It was never, ever our intention to disrespect or hurt anyone – we deeply and sincerely apologise for any offense it has caused.”

The company previously came under fire in early 2018 after Martin Lerma wrote an article criticising the lack of diversity in the models used for the Comme des Garcons presentations. In the piece, he revealed the brand hadn’t cast a model of colour in more than 20 years, something bosses rectified when they unveiled their fall/winter 2018 show.

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Rei Kawakubo: ‘I don’t sketch or style’

Comme des Garcons founder Rei Kawakubo doesn’t sketch or style and has a “unique way of working”. The 76-year-old, who heads one of the most influential fashion houses in the world, opened up about her unusual design process, and explained why she wil…

Comme des Garcons founder Rei Kawakubo doesn’t sketch or style and has a “unique way of working”.

The 76-year-old, who heads one of the most influential fashion houses in the world, opened up about her unusual design process, and explained why she will never be pigeonholed.

“I design the company, not pieces of clothing,” Kawakubo told Dezeen. “It’s nothing about clothes, it’s a different way to express my value of Comme des Garcons. I don’t sketch or style. It’s a unique way of working, I don’t think anybody else works like that.”

Ever since she established the brand in Tokyo back in 1969, Kawakubo has always had creative control.

“It’s the only brand in the world that works like that A-Z,” she stated. “If my eyes aren’t on it, it’s not Comme des Garcons.”

Comme des Garcons has luxury stores in several countries, including Japan, America, France and the U.K., and both the brand and its founder were featured in a major exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York back in 2017.

However, Kawakubo never studied fashion, and instead started out by getting a job in a textile factory, where she began styling. After struggling to find the clothes she wanted, she started designing her own, and eventually set up her company – Comme des Garcons.

“I’m not an artist, not a fashion designer,” she explained. “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.”

The petite designer is known for her simple, understand style, and wears her hair in a sleek bob with a sharp fringe.

But when asked to describe her style, she appeared confused.

“I never thought of making my own style. I just wear the things I make,” she said simply. “It’s Comme des Garcons style.”

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Rei Kawakubo collaborates with Gucci and Burberry on mini holiday collection

Rei Kawakubo has convinced Gucci’s Alessandro Michele and Burberry star Riccardo Tisci to collaborate on a holiday collection.According to editors at WWD, the 76-year-old Japanese designer, who is revered for her work at brand Comme Des Garcons (CDG), …

Rei Kawakubo has convinced Gucci’s Alessandro Michele and Burberry star Riccardo Tisci to collaborate on a holiday collection.

According to editors at WWD, the 76-year-old Japanese designer, who is revered for her work at brand Comme Des Garcons (CDG), has created a collection of holiday items, based on an “iconic” piece of clothing, accessory or design fragment from her peers’ respective fashion houses.

The capsule collection of nine items, includes a “first time ever” collaboration for Maison Martin Margiela, as led by John Galliano, who allowed Rei to rework its iconic AIDS charity T-shirt, which has been reissued annually since 1993.

Fashion fans can also purchase Jean Paul Gaultier’s classic Breton top with red polka dots added to the sailor stripes, and a Burberry check scarf featuring the slogan “My Energy Comes from my Freedom” emblazoned across it. Other designers who have contributed to the range include Walter Van Beirendonck, Simone Rocha, Craig Green, Marine Serre, and Stussy. The items will cost from $250 – $500 (£194 – £389).

“We have always enjoyed the synergies of CDG-style collaborations, which is not about brainstorming and back-and-forth with the other party but about trust and respect,” Adrian Joffe, president of Comme des Garcons International and chief executive at Dover Street Market, told WWD. “Rei does not enjoy two captains on a ship. So, we either leave it to them or ask that they leave it to her. The nine brands were very happy to leave it to her this time.”

For streetwear brand Stussy, the playful designer switched the California brand’s logo upside down on a classic white T-shirt.

“It’s so cool,” Joffe smiled. “It’s about giving the possibility for accident and synergy.”

The collection, part of Comme des Garcons’ annual holiday campaign, will go on sale on Friday (23Nov18) in Rei’s boutique network in Japan, before it is rolled out to other CDG stores and Dover Street Market locations on 6 December.

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Yasmin Le Bon has no fashion regrets

Yasmin Le Bon is happy with all the fashion choices she’s made in her life.The English star was one of the highest earning models during the 1980s working with brands including Chanel, Versace and Calvin Klein, and even spawned a supermodel daughter in…

Yasmin Le Bon is happy with all the fashion choices she’s made in her life.

The English star was one of the highest earning models during the 1980s working with brands including Chanel, Versace and Calvin Klein, and even spawned a supermodel daughter in 28-year-old Amber Le Bon.

Having built relationships with some of the world’s most acclaimed designers, Yasmin has had the opportunity to wear some seriously stylish outfits over the years. Reflecting on her enviable wardrobe, the 53-year-old says she’s fully content with her style choices.

“I don’t think I have any regrets, I loved everything I wore at that moment and I was happy!” she beamed to Nine.com.au. “People talk about the ‘80s and a lot of people have a lot of regrets about the things they wore, but I really don’t feel that way! I was only wearing (Comme des Garcons), Levi jeans and Azzedine Alaia and I felt really really good!”

The fashion icon, who is also mother to daughter Saffron, 26, and Talullah, 23, with husband Simon Le Bon, says her style has “always been a little bit rock and roll” and tries her best to ensure she never looks “too done”.

Yasmin has also given fashion fans the opportunity to get their hands on some of her favourite garments by releasing the Archive Series Yasmin le Bon through online retailer Vestiaire Collective. The collection consists of the most iconic pieces from the supermodel’s fashion career, which includes a Rolex watch, sequinned Chanel camisole and a denim Yves Saint Laurent jumpsuit.

“I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite, it would be like choosing between my children!” she laughed. “They are all my favourite at different times, depending on my mood!”

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Virgil Abloh credits Kanye West for introducing him to high fashion

Virgil Abloh has credited Kanye West for opening his eyes to the world of high fashion.The Ghanaian-American designer has risen to fame since launching streetwear brand Off-White in 2013 and was announced as Kim Jones’ successor at Louis Vuitton’s mens…

Virgil Abloh has credited Kanye West for opening his eyes to the world of high fashion.

The Ghanaian-American designer has risen to fame since launching streetwear brand Off-White in 2013 and was announced as Kim Jones’ successor at Louis Vuitton’s menswear division in March (18), unveiling his first line for the French luxury label in Paris earlier this month.

While Abloh now holds one of the most coveted roles in the business, in a new interview with supermodel Naomi Campbell for British Vogue, he explained that it was his rapper pal West who took him to his first major presentation – a Comme des Garcons show.

“Kanye and myself have been friends for 14 years now, we’ve always been driven by fashion,” he said. “Kanye’s like, ‘Paris Fashion Week, this is where the new collections are debuting? I’m going to go.’ He invited all of us to go with him because he knew that’s what we were all into.”

Abloh’s debut menswear collection for Louis Vuitton featured monochromatic looks, streetwear influences, sharp tailoring and leather bags. At the conclusion of the show, the designer appeared emotional as he took his bow, and then proceeded to give West a tearful embrace.

“I wanted the world to see that the guy who fought for this moment is a part of it and is uniquely linked to me doing it,” the 37-year-old said of their hug. “The one thing that has to be stressed about that show is that it actually wasn’t me on the runway, you know. It was the community. That show was us. (West) willed it for us… That dream is his just as much as it’s mine. In my dream, it was him down the runway.”

During the chat, Abloh also emphasised how the Louis Vuitton spectacle felt like his first fashion show and how he is now looking forward to entering the next phase of his career.

“Now we are the establishment. I will no longer be referencing the old days and the barrier to entry, because we’ve… made a landscape,” he smiled. “I’m legitimately like, ‘Who can we empower next?'”

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Comme des Garcons launching direct-to-consumer brand

Comme des Garcons is gearing up to unveil a new direct-to-consumer brand.The fashion house was founded in Tokyo by Rei Kawakubo in 1969, with the label building up a reputation for its predominant use of black and distressed fabrics. In recent years, K…

Comme des Garcons is gearing up to unveil a new direct-to-consumer brand.

The fashion house was founded in Tokyo by Rei Kawakubo in 1969, with the label building up a reputation for its predominant use of black and distressed fabrics.

In recent years, Kawakubo has expanded Comme des Garcons to include casual line Comme des Garcons Play and menswear range Comme des Garcons Homme, with brand bosses now set to add another online-based category.

“Nobody knows yet, but what I can tell you is it’s going to be Internet-based,” said Comme des Garcons chief executive officer Adrian Joffe at the opening party for a Dover Street Market boutique in Beijing last week (ends01Apr18), adding that the “simple” range of men’s and womenswear will eventually be stocked in six stores around the world.

Further details about the line are being kept under wraps, including a potential release date. However, Joffe confirmed that Kawakubo was taking a hands-on approach and will even have a role in designing the website for the new label.

As well as having Comme des Garcons boutiques in Tokyo, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Manila, the company has its clothes and accessories stocked in its market-based department store Dover Street Market in London, the market’s original location, New York, Tokyo and Singapore.

The boutiques also stock pieces from Balenciaga, Celine, Gucci, Junya Watanabe, Lanvin, Marni, Raf Simons, Saint Laurent and Vetements. Irish designer Simone Rocha also has her creations sold at Dover Street Market stores and has noted that the partnership has had a positive impact on her business.

“They have so much respect for young designers, and at the same time a huge amount of respect for heritage. Being a part of that is really special,” she told the publication.

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