Comme des Garçons
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|Headquarters||Tokyo, Japan (de facto)|
Paris, France (de jure)
|Products||Apparel, accessories, perfumes|
Number of employees
|800 est. (2011)|
Comme des Garçons (also known as CDG) is a Japanese fashion company and label founded and headed by Rei Kawakubo in Tokyo and Paris. The label began in 1969 and the company was founded in 1973. Its Japanese flagship store is in Aoyama, Tokyo. It also establishes country-wide and world-wide store chain for various lines of products, including Dover Street Market, in major cities such asLondon, Melbourne, Hong Kong, and New York City. Other than fashion, it expands its business to jewelry and perfume.
The company shows their main collections during Paris Fashion Week and Paris Men's Fashion Week. In 2017 it was reported that the company and its affiliates generates a revenue "of over $280 million a year".
The label was started in Tokyo by Rei Kawakubo in 1969 and established as a company in 1973. It is written in Japanese as コム・デ・ギャルソン (Komu de Gyaruson), and translates as "like boys" in French. The brand's name was inspired by Francoise Hardy's 1962 song "Tous les garçons et les filles", particularly from the line Comme les garçons et les filles de mon âge. The brand became successful in Japan in the 1970s and a menswear line was added in 1978. In 1981 the company had a debut show in Paris. Kawakubo's heavy use of black, as well as distressed fabrics and unfinished seams, were viewed negatively by French critics.
Throughout the 1980s, its clothes often were associated with a distressed and punk oriented style. In 1982, Kawakubo's collection which she named "Destroy" was heavily criticized. "Women’s Wear Daily called it the 'Hiroshima bag lady look,' and the Associated Press proclaimed Kawakubo the 'high priestess of the Jap wrap.'" Unusual styles continued through the 1990s, many of which were disliked by experts. But the company carried on, and in 2004, the company split business into handmade garments in France and non-handmade garments in Japan, Spain and Turkey. Product lines like Deux, Shirt, Tricot, Homme Plus Evergreen, Junya Watanabe, and Ganryu are handmade in France. The product line Play, which is the most recognizable and mainstream CDG brand, is largely produced in Japan, Spain and Turkey, but some of its product are handmade in France.
Play is the company's casual luxury line. It has a heart-shaped logo with two eyes. It is targeted at the younger market and is the best selling clothes line of the company. Filip Pagowski designed the heart logo and stitched onto Play pieces.
Its collections are designed in the studio in Aoyama, Tokyo and manufactured in Japan, France, Spain, and Turkey. Over the years, the company has recurrently associated itself with the arts and cultural projects internationally. The 1997 spring-summer collection, often referred to the lumps and bumps collection, which contained fabric in bulk and balls on the garments, led to a collaboration, also in 1997, between Rei Kawakubo and New York-based choreographer Merce Cunningham called Scenario. The 2006 autumn/winter collection dealt with the concept of the persona, the different ways to present self to the world. Fusing tailored menswear with more feminine elements such as corsets and flower printed dress fabrics, Persona was another collection that combined the feminine with the masculine.
Björk wore the label in the music video for Isobel. Some celebrities refer to the label and the founder. Frank Ocean devoted a song to the founder. John Waters devoted a chapter of his 2010 book Role Models to the label and founder. Swedish musician Jonna Lee collaborated with the company in the creation of her audiovisual album Everyone Afraid to Be Forgotten, where the fashion house designed the costumes for the film.
After the Paris début, the company exhibited photographs by Peter Lindbergh at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris in 1986. In 1990, it held an exhibition of sculpture. And again in 2005 it held an exhibition in Shinjuku, Tokyo of advertising and graphic designs.
In May 2017, Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York held a fashion exhibition with theme Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons Art of the In-Between.
The company released its first fragrance, Comme des Garçons, in 1994  and its first anti-perfume Odeur 53 in 1998. The anti-perfume is a blend of 53 non-traditional notes to create a modern and striking scent. Some of these notes are oxygen, flash of metal, wash drying in the wind, mineral carbon, sand dunes, nail polish, cellulose, pure air of the high mountains, burnt rubber and flaming rock. Director John Waters and architect Stephen Alesch both wear the fragrance.
Adrian Joffe, the founder's husband and the CEO of the company, set up two companies. Comme des Garçons Parfums is for licensing some of the perfumes to Puig from 2002 and Comme des Garçons Parfums Parfums for selling the rest by its own.
Comme des Garçons lines
- Designed by Rei Kawakubo
- Comme des Garçons – main womenswear line (since 1969)
- Comme des Garçons Noir – black-dominated womenswear collection (since 1987)
- Comme des Garçons Comme Des Garçons – (a.k.a. 'Comme Comme') womenswear (since 1993)
- Comme des Garçons Homme Plus – main menswear line (since 1984)
- Comme des Garçons Homme Plus Sport – sporty subline of Homme Plus
- Comme des Garçons Homme Plus Evergreen – subline of Homme Plus, re-invented items from past collections (since 2005)
- Comme des Garçons Homme Deux – formal tailored menswear (since 1987)
- Comme des Garçons Shirt – shirt-dominated collection (since 1988)
- Comme des Garçons Shirt Girl
- Comme des Garçons Shirt Boy (since 2014, discontinued 2019)
- Comme des Garçons Girl (since 2015)
- Play Comme des Garçons – casual streetwear for younger men and women with bug-eyed heart logo (collaboration with New York City graphic artist Filip Pagowski )
- BLACK Comme des Garçons – unisex, lower-priced line, initially started due to the recession in 2008, and also sold in signature BLACK pop-up shops.
- Designed by Junya Watanabe
- Comme des Garçons Homme – menswear Japanese line (since 1978)
- Comme des Garçons Robe de Chambre – womenswear Japanese line (discontinued)
- Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons – womenswear (since 1992)
- Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons Man – menswear (since 2001)
- Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons Man Pink – menswear items for women (discontinued)
- Designed by Tao Kurihara
- Tao Comme des Garçons – womenswear (launched 2005, discontinued after spring 2011)
- Tricot Comme des Garçons – womenwear knits
- Designed by Fumito Ganryu
- Ganryu Comme des Garçons – asexual street style label, Ganryu was a former pattern-maker at Junya
- Designed by Kei Ninomiya
- Noir Kei Ninomiya – womenswear (launched in 2013), Ninomiya was a former pattern-maker at CdG
- Comme des Garçons Edited – special items for Edited shops in Japan
- Comme des Garçons Pearl – jewelry (since 2006)
- Comme des Garçons Parfum – (since 1994)
- Comme des Garçons Parfum Parfum
- Comme des Garçons Wallet
- Speedo Comme des Garçons – swimwear collaboration (since 2005)
- Hammerthor Comme des Garçons Shirt – underwear collaboration (since 2007)
- Comme des Garçons Peggy Moffitt
- Comme des Garçons Six – bi-annual magazine (from 1988 to 1991)
Signature boutiques are located in London (as Dover Street Market), Paris, New York City, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, St. Petersburg, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka. The company also maintains concessions at select department stores, such as Isetan.
The company opened the first Guerrilla stores in 2004 in Berlin. The aim of the Guerrilla stores is to be open for only one year and to spend a minimal amount of money on the interiors. The stores locates away from fashionable hubs and districts of a city. Guerrilla stores have been opened, and subsequently closed, in Reykjavik, Warsaw, Helsinki, Singapore, Stockholm, Athens and others. In July 2007, a Guerrilla Store opened in Beirut, Lebanon, and in February 2008, a Guerrilla Store opened in downtown Los Angeles, the first in the United States. In November 2008, it opened another Guerilla store in the west end of Glasgow. In 2004 its opened another in London of Dover Street Market.
In December 2009, the company opened a 4,400 square feet (410 m2) store in Hong Kong called Under The Ground. Hong Kong also has had a Guerrilla store opened and closed in previous years, run by Silly Thing Hong Kong. In March 2012, it opened a store in Manila. Also, the first Dover Street Market in Japan opened in Ginza. In December 2013, Dover Street Market in New York City opened.
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