June 2

The MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits

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“I want to create a market where people from all walks of life can encounter each other in an atmosphere of beautiful chaos, the coming together of kindred souls.” Rei Kawakubo

The MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits
The MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits
The MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits - War/Peace #9
The MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits – War/Peace #9

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between—Gallery Views

Irving Penn – Centennial

The Costume Institute’s spring 2017 exhibition examines the work of fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. The thematic show features approximately 140 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear for Comme des Garçons dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection, many with heads and wigs created and styled by Julien d’Ys. The Met

Last week, I went to my favorite museum with one of my kids to catch the exhibits on Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between and Irving Penn: Centennial  It was a phenomenal experience for us and we spent hours enjoying the beautiful creativity expressed in both exhibits.  As I sorted through my photos to curate a meaningful selection of the creative contributions from these two artistic masters, it became apparent to me that, even though they are two separate exhibits, my decision to feature them together because we saw them on the same day was not entirely wise. I think that was a mistake because their creative contributions span so many years and the depth and breath of their work is so rich that I couldn’t do them justice in one post… They were/are terrific exhibits that need to stand on their own. That said, I’m going to give you the carefully curated and somewhat abbreviated version of what could be two long posts.

Some Background on the Artists: Rei Kawakubo is a highly regarded avant garde Japanese fashion designer based in Tokyo and Paris. She is the powerhouse behind Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market and even though she had no formal training in design, she started creating her own work in 1969 under the Comme des Garçons label. From 1973, when she established her company, to 2003, her name and brand exploded on the fashion scene with store openings and couture shows. She focused on developing her specific vision of what fashion meant and it was often austere with a limited use of color. Her work is still considered anti-fashion, austere, sometimes deconstructed but she has shifted directions by incorporating other influences in her work.  The exhibit at  The Met highlights 9 distinct aesthetics that define her design concepts.

he MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits
he MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits
The MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits - Design/Not Design #2
The MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits – Design/Not Design #2

READ: A Conversation About Rei Kawakubo, Founder of Comme des Garçons.
Irving Penn Reinterpreted, by Irving Penn

More Below!

“What I really try to do is photograph people at rest, in a state of serenity.” Irving Penn

The MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits
The MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present a major retrospective of the photographs of Irving Penn to mark the centennial of the artist’s birth. Over the course of his nearly 70-year career, Irving Penn (1917–2009) mastered a pared-down aesthetic of studio photography that is distinguished for its meticulous attention to composition, nuance, detail, and printmaking. Irving Penn: Centennial, opening April 24, 2017, will be the most comprehensive exhibition of the great American photographer’s work to date and will include both masterpieces and hitherto unknown prints from all his major series.  The Met.

Irving Penn – Centennial

VIDEO Breaking Beautiful: Kawakubo at The Met



Positive Motivation Tip: Artistic expression in all its forms is empowering and enlightening. It helps us preserve history while creating beauty.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos – From my personal collection taken at The Met Museum

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet




Art, creativity, Fashion, Happiness, inspiration, Irving Penn, Irving Penn: Centennial, life, photography, postaday, Rei Kawakubo, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, The Metropolitan Museum

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  • This is awesome! What gorgeous exhibits. I would love to go visit this soon! What was your favorite part?

  • You have captured some amazing pictures here. I love the quotes you always include as well.

  • This is so cool! I was telling my husband the other day it’s amazing how fashion has changed over the years from hairstyles to shoes.

  • I haven’t been to an art exhibit recently but I imagine it would be nice to go with my daughter and learn to appreciate art.

  • This sounds like such an amazing exhibit! I would love to see this. I am always fascinated photographers and their work. I love to see their talent and personality shine through their work and the subjects they cover.

  • Fashion is always changing and it’s beautiful. It’s great to see people’s visions comes to life.

  • Looks like such an awesome exhibition. I’ve been to the met a few times and it never disappoints, I always find something new x

  • Amazing, just by looking at the photos I had identified it to be beautiful and unique. Such experiences with family are always satisfying and informative.

  • I love the quote you shared. I admire his initiative to share his creations to everyone. I must say that the creations are amazing!

  • I have never heard of either of these people. But the clothes look fabulous! I love seeing avant garde clothing! People are so incredibly creative.

  • I have heard about Rei Kawakubo and the exhibition! Her designs are incredible! So empowering and original! SO bold and colorful! She has so much imagination! xx corinne

  • This exhibition is phenomenal. I haven’t been to The Met, however, I need to visit soon

  • This is so cool and such an excellent exhibit. I love all the pieces and how unique and cool all th different things are.

    • They are truly genius designs by Kawakubo. I have to organize my photos into collages as I can’t post them all. The Photography exhibit was very impressive too as it showed the breadth of Penn’s carrier from Portraits to Fashion and to Culture.

  • Rei and Irving are such humble human beings. I love how they share their stories and creations. I hope I can be able to attend their exhibit too.

  • The way that she plays with textures and deconstructs shapes is rather beautiful. I would like to go to the exhibit and learn more about his work and the themes of serenity and rest that he chose.

  • Wow this is looks unique! I never heard of this kind of exhibit before. I think this will be a lot of fun.

  • This exhibit shows different pieces that will tell and show different stories and emotions. Lovely designs!

  • What a really neat exhibit. These are all so beautiful and something I’d love to see in person if I ever got the chance!

  • I’m not 100% sure, but I think I saw a display of Reis Kawakubo’s in St. Louis last summer. Now I am going to have to double check. The style is so similar!

  • Really, really stunning pieces. My husband and I are planning a trip to NYC and we’re definitely going to have to make time to go to the Met. Lovely photos!

  • I’ve never heard of an exhibit like this but would love to take a look through one! All the pieces look very unique!

  • such an excellent exhibit. I love all the pieces, the details and textures and fabrics are so exquisite !!

  • Love watching the creativity of others come to life. This is indeed beautiful and genius!

  • I’ve never been to an Irving Penn exhibit, but it looks great. Really liking what I see in the pictures!

  • I love all the red in these exhibits; but I like the red even better when it’s just a hint instead of the full-on red of some pieces. There’s something that draws the eye in when it’s just a detail. All beautiful work; I can see how it would have been a wonderful experience.

  • This is a different form of art. I love the frames of ladies in the red. It looks very artistic!

  • How long did you spend? It seems like one day would not be sufficient to fully explore all that there was to offer. I would have been a child in a candy store!

  • Wow, what beautiful exhibits. I would love to visit and read more about the history of some of those!

    • The photography exhibit was fantastic too. Irving took portraits of many famous people of his era and the collection is impressive.
      KawaKubo’s designs are architectural marvels… She is truly an original.

  • What a beautiful collection. I’ve always wanted to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art and now with two daughters, would love for them to experience this with me.

  • What a fabulous experience to walk through the museum. It’s also so beneficial for your child to learn about art.

  • Those are such fun exhibits. I love the red coats with the crazy hair. It would be so funny to picture people walking around like that every day. So futuristic!

  • I haven’t heard about these artists. They have some unique displays. They seem as though they are each masters of their respective fields. This would be a wonderful exhibit to check out.

  • Amazing collection. I’m immediately drawn to the color red and was completely blown away by the use of red in this exhibit.

  • Wow! That’s pretty amazing. I’ve never been to the MET in a while since we rarely visit family in my beloved NYC. I think it’s amazing how both designers shared their designs.

  • I wish to witness such exhibits. I love their creations. It’s really amazing!

  • I have never been to the MET personally. It does sound like it would be an amazing place to visit. I love to go through and see all of the amazing art. And the pictures you take are fabulous as always.

  • I would love to see these exhibits. These two artists are both awesome in their respective fields. Sad though that I live so far from NYC. I’d have to do a google search on their works and view them online instead.

  • What an interesting exhibit. Each piece builds on to the entire collection. I hope I can get a chance to see their work in person to best appreciate their work.

  • I haven’t been to the MET in ages! This exhibit sounds really cool! I would love to go see it 🙂

  • Ooooh what a cool exhibit!! We’ll have to go check it out soon, we’re new members thanks to NYC ID!

  • The Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibit looks fascinating! I have never been to the MET, but would love to go someday!

  • Wow what an amazing exhibition! I have never seen anything like that before but loved seeing your photos, so very interesting!

  • These designs are elegant and beautiful. I wish that I have some designs and creativity skills, but I don’t. So I am greatly to be able to have seen this exhibit here.

  • I don’t think I have ever been to a fashion exhibit! These designs are all so unique and intricate. A fashionista’s dream place to visit!

  • Oh my gosh, this is ah-mazing. I would love to see this in person, such a gorgeous set up or the eyes!

  • This is a beautiful exhibition. So interesting and unique! Fascinating to read more about the artist too.

  • Love this exhibition. I have not heard of these artist but they do have a unique artistic style. They are all so gorgeous. Hopefully I will see them in London one day!

  • Fascinating designs, though I probably wouldn’t wear some of them 🙂 In my other life am passionate about fashion and its refreshing to see she has been at this since 1969! Tried and tested creativity.

  • Amazing exhibits! Both great artists that I didn’t know very well, thank you for this curated selection you are sharing with us !

  • Ooh, I love visiting museums, and this one looks so much more fun than the ones I’m used to. It sounds like you had a fantastic time 🙂

    Louise x

  • What an amazing exhibit! I absolutely love the MET, I can’t wait to go back to NYC sometime soon and explore again. I love getting to see fashion exhibits. Getting to see those exquisite designs up close must have been truly an experience.

  • This is so beautiful and insprirational !! This designer express in simplicity yet unique

  • Interesting Art exhibits. I like how Rei Kawakubo expresses his art with those dresses. It’s so fashionable and I like every meaning of it.

  • What an interesting museum. I think all museums are interesting and I’ve not been to one for ages… now I want to! the pictures are fascinating.

  • Simply Wow! What an amazing exhibit. Thanks for sharing this. I haven’t been to MET but after reading your blog, would love to visit it.

  • This is dope! I really like it. Great inspiration for art fashion and I hope one day I will be able to see the gallery in person.

  • This makes me miss NYC so much. I love exploring the MET, especially when they feature such interesting costume exhibits.

  • These costumes are incredible. I love seeing all the colors and textures come together.

  • It was definitely beautiful chaos. This would really make great fashionable designs.

  • fusion art and design are something I love. I have seen several expositions mainly in NYC and Soho (London) but never bumped into this Japanese artist. And it’s a shame! Thanx for sharing!

  • This looks like such a unique exhibit! Those outfits are amazing. The designs are pure creativity. I’ve not heard of this designer (or museum) so great to learn about them.

  • The Met always has such wonderful exhibits. I sure wish I lived closer and could visit for this one! I love all of the different fabrics and textures. Also, they’re displayed beautifully. Thank-you for introducing us to two incredibly talented designers!

  • I love to visit such kind of exhibits. That antique camera is really a treasure and i love those red colored clothes very cute.

  • I love Rei Kawakubo! 🙂 Her works are just the best! Can’t probably wear it here in Manila but hey! They look absolutely stunning!

  • This exhibit is certainly very amazing. all the pieces have an amazing look and with great meaning. Thanks for sharing this amazing post Eliz!

  • amazing stuff here, such exhibitions are always a wonderful event to witness first hand. nice images and the designs i see here are awesome.

  • I’m loving the Irving Penn exhibit. Such fashionable and iconic looks to see.

  • I am not the best person to judge an exhibit but this is so beautiful! It is so interesting to see Rei Kawakubo’s work. I have never come across her before but would love to see more of her designs!

  • I haven’t been to an exhibit recently, art or fashion but I want to try and go to one. It would be very interesting to see some artistic creations.

  • This looks incredible. I love looking at fashion exhibits and finding out what inspired the designers.,

  • I truly love the design and how the color rhyme with the intricate design. The exhibit seemed to showcase a lot of beautiful and amazing piece of work. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  • I love these designs, they are so unique. I also respect what they stand for, such a deep and powerful meaning that is being conveyed here

  • The Kawakubo exhibit is pretty neat. They are very unusual and kind of weird but in a good way. That hair is a trip.

  • I checked out this exhibit a month ago and was intrigued by Rei’s art. I didn’t like all the pieces but some really stood out to me. Commes des Garcons is definitely on another level.

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