Recognitions and Legacy

Kawakubo has received many honors in recognition of her achievements. They include the following: Night of the Stars award from the Fashion Group, New York (1986); the Mainichi Newspaper award (1988); the Business Woman of the Year award from Veuve Clicquot (1991); and Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et des lettres, awarded by the French Ministry of Culture (1993). In 1997 she received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art, London, and in 2000, the Excellence in Design Award from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work has also been celebrated in many museum and gallery exhibitions, such as Mode et photo, an exhibition of Comme des Garçons photography at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1986), and Three Voices: Franco Albini, Kris Ruhs, Rei Kawakubo, Paris (1993). She has had a furniture exhibition at the Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan, and the Essence of Quality exhibition of Comme des Garçons Noir with the Kyoto Costume Institute, Kyoto, Japan. In 1995 she participated in the Mode and Art exhibition in Brussels, Belgium. In 1996 she participated in the Art and Fashion exhibition at the Florence Biennale Inter-nazionale dell'Arte Contemporanea in Italy. She featured in the Three Women: Madeleine Vionnet, Claire McCardell and Rei Kawakubo exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, and in Radical Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2001.

Since Rei Kawakubo's first show in Paris, Comme des Garçons clothes have continued to be characterized by complex patternmaking and an unmistakable mix of the hand-crafted and technology. Her role in the history of twentieth- and twenty-first-century fashion is about the creative fusion of two cultures and two audiences. In her words, "If my ultimate goal was to achieve financial success, I would have done things differently, but I want to create something new. I want to suggest to people different aesthetics and values. I want to question their being" (Frankel, p. 158).

See also Art and Fashion; Dance and Fashion; Fashion Designer; Fashion Magazines.

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