I didn't realize Comme des Garçons has turned 40 until I read an article in the New York Times recently. For me Comme is at 21 because in 1988 I bought my first article of clothing by Rei Kawakubo - a Comme des Garçons Shirt with buttons in different sizes and materials. The shirt was part of the first Comme des Garçons Shirt collection, a new line Kawakubo launched in 1988. The shirt was the most expensive piece of clothing I had at that time. I purchased the shirt at Alan Bilzerian on Newbury Street in Boston during a weekend break at summer school. At the time I didn't know much about Comme and the impact Kawakubo had on the world of fashion. I just thought the shirt was kind of cool; it was also one of the cheaper things for purchase at the store. I like the shirt very much and even though I don't fit in it anymore, I still have it.
Besides the purchase of the shirt, 1988 was also the year that Comme opened a boutique in Taipei. The store was located near my old elementary school Fu Hsing. The design of the store was different from everything else that existed in Taipei. It was mostly white and looked less like a store and more like an art gallery. I used to go to the store quite a bit, not to buy, since the clothes were too expensive, but to look. The staff at the store was very nice to me and would give me issues of Six to take home, which coincidentally was started in 1988 as well.
Looking back 1988 was a seminal year for Comme because it was at that time when Kawakubo made her famous declaration, "Red is black"; she sounded like a conceptual artist. She began to move beyond the complex construction of black fabric that she was famous for. The designs started to have more colors, were more about moods, and became softer and simpler.
Since 1988 I have followed the growth of Comme. Although Comme may not have the influence on fashion now as it had before, it is still a remarkable brand led by an incredible woman who is constantly looking forward with new ideas and projects.
Happy Anniversary, Comme!