The anxiously awaited Comme des Carrés Scarf Collection, is a design collaboration that’s unprecdented, involving two French powerhouses that are polar opposites – the avant-garde COMME des GARÇONS + the 175 year old French luxury goods house Hermès. Set to drop next month, Hermès six scarf designs (carrés) reinterpreted by COMME des GARÇONS designer Rei Kawakubo, will be released in a limited edition of 200 of each design. Now you ask yourself, how could this be? – Rei’s work has an edge that is not understood by all + in my opinion, her designs are well-thought out ideas, if not epiphanies, made tangible through fabric + thread, surpassing being called fashion but rather wearable art; Then you have Hermès, who’s drenched in the tradition of old school luxury. Yet, it was that ‘tradition and craftsmanship’ that attracted Rei to the project since she too is as meticulous. According to Bali Barret, the deputy artistic director for women’s collections at Hermès, she mentions that Rei is ’a perfect mix of modernity and tradition and is also as exacting about her methods as Hermès is.’
So how does someone like Rei approach such a task – through lots of research. From reviewing 250 scarves from the archives, then color copies of all designs from the 1950’s, 1970’s + present day, Rei could wrap her head around what she wanted to design. Barret mentioned this was done ’so she could figure out what the treasure was,’ looking and watching everything, while asking a ton of technical questions. ‘She was very sharp and precise about printing,’ Barret added.
The first set of scarves, show remixed traditional Hermès prints such as Thalassa + Pegasus garnished with Kawakubo’s iconic polka dots, nylon gingham, heavy black lines + personal motto, live free with strong will, which looks like an Hermès scarf that’s been defiled by a poor attempt at graffitti. Then you have the giant scarf below which features several scarf designs. Like Barret, I’m sure many more will agree that Rei’s designs are not as ‘out there’ as she thought they would be, yet it’s still interesting how much restraint her designs show.