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The MET: Rei Kawakubo & Irving Penn Exhibits


“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



39 Comments leave one →
  1. Jackie permalink
    03/06/2017 7:07 am

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


    • 03/06/2017 8:13 am

      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.


  2. Ana De-Jesus permalink
    03/06/2017 8:21 am

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Josselyn Radillo permalink
    03/06/2017 5:06 pm

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


  4. munakenny permalink
    03/06/2017 7:22 pm

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


  5. wonderstrucklife permalink
    03/06/2017 8:16 pm

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


  6. Mariana Abeid-McDougall permalink
    03/06/2017 8:20 pm

    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.


  7. Sona Jain permalink
    03/06/2017 11:29 pm

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


  8. She's A Hot Mess (@Ohshesahotmess) permalink
    04/06/2017 12:20 pm

    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!


  9. Amber Nelson permalink
    04/06/2017 12:29 pm

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


    • 04/06/2017 9:44 pm

      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.


  10. Heather Riccobono (@BrieBrieBlooms) permalink
    04/06/2017 2:06 pm

    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.


  11. Julie permalink
    04/06/2017 3:17 pm

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


    • 04/06/2017 9:38 pm

      Sorry Julie, I’m a typical mom who calls her grown children “kids.” My daughter is an accomplished artist and her keen eye made our visit a lot more fun. 🙂


  12. chewoutloud permalink
    04/06/2017 4:11 pm

    These are breathtaking images and videos. So vibrant!


  13. Enjoyfreebies permalink
    04/06/2017 4:13 pm

    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!


  14. Megan permalink
    04/06/2017 6:26 pm

    I would LOVE to see this exhibit in person! Each piece is so unique and beautiful!


  15. Dawn McAlexander permalink
    04/06/2017 6:31 pm

    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.


  16. Msddah permalink
    04/06/2017 9:09 pm

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


  17. Amanda Love permalink
    04/06/2017 9:39 pm

    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.


  18. Gennifer Rose permalink
    06/06/2017 6:29 am

    So much great fashion and creativity! Love it! 🙂


  19. Sabrina Barbante (@SabrinaBarbante) permalink
    06/06/2017 8:56 am

    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!


    • 06/06/2017 3:10 pm

      Well check out her avante garde fashions on the links I added. Also take a look at Penn’s photos. I wrote about two exhibits but somehow folks are missing that fact. ❤


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