Comme des Garçons
This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (November 2020)
|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 label founded and headed by Rei Kawakubo in Paris. The label began in 1969 and the company was founded in 1973. Its French flagship store is in Paris. It also establishes country-wide and world-wide store chain for various lines of products, including Dover Street Market, in major cities such as London, Melbourne, Hong Kong, New York City and Ginza. 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 Françoise 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 casual luxury line, is largely produced in Japan, Spain and Turkey, but some of its product are handmade in France. Filip Pagowski designed the heart logo and stitched onto Play pieces.
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)
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 for selling the rest by its own.
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. Frank Ocean named a song after the company. 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.
1995: 'Auschwitz' fashions
The 1995 "Sleep" collection consisted of striped pajamas "bearing prints of identification numbers and marks of military boot prints". Contemporaneous media coverage juxtaposed images of the collection with images taken at Auschwitz concentration camp, and the controversy received international coverage. The World Jewish Congress condemned the collection, and fashion critic Suzy Menkes called the collection "'Auschwitz' fashions". Kawakubo responded that the collection had been "completely misunderstood" and the controversy made her "very sad".
2015: Guarachero boots
2020: Black hairstyles
In January 2020, a predominantly white group of models wore cornrowed lace front wigs in the fall 2020 menswear show. This was seen as the appropriation of Black culture, particularly with the use of traditionally Black hairstyles on non-Black models. Stylist Julien d'Ys responded on Instagram, "Dear all, My inspiration for the comme des garçons show was Egyptian prince A Look i found truly beautiful and inspirational. A look that was an hommage. Never was it my intention to hurt or offend anyone, ever. If I did I deeply apologize."
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.
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.
- "Comme des Garçons worldwide stores". comme-des-garcons.com. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
- "8 COMME des GARÇONS Diffusion Labels Integral to Rei Kawakubo's Vision". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
- Slowey, Anne; Hyzagi, Jacques (March 4, 2016). "Rei Kawakubo Never Meant to Start a Revolution". ELLE.
- Tim Blanks. Business of Fashion. "A Punk's Pain". April 24, 2017. .
- "Company Overview of Comme Des Garcons Co., Ltd". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
- "The True Story of How COMME des GARÇONS Got Its Name". Highsnobiety. Retrieved 2019-05-24.
- Kate Betts (9 February 2004). "Women in fashion – Rei Kawakubo". Time magazine. Archived from the original on 10 February 2004. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
- Buck, Stephanie (2017-08-03). "Japan's 'crow tribe' is the reason everyone started wearing black in New York". Medium. Retrieved 2020-11-20.
- "A Comprehensive Guide to the Comme Universe". Grailed. Retrieved 2020-11-20.
- "The Artist Who Created CDG's 'Heart Logo' Reimagines NBA Logos". Highsnobiety. 2018-03-21. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
- "Filip Pągowski". Culture.pl. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
- Wells, Pete (2013-09-17). "Comme des Garçons builds niche perfume empire". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on October 12, 2008. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "Comme des Garcons Perfume". HYPEBEAST. Archived from the original on October 15, 2008.
- "New Comme des Garçons perfume". Wallpaper. 2008-05-09. Archived from the original on 2009-02-08. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "Comme des Garçons". The Conveyor Belt. 2008-03-20. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "John Waters' top ten". Artforum International. October 1, 1998.
- Chen, Jason (January 28, 2010). "Style Secrets of NYC's Most In-Demand Designer". Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- "Comme des Garcons, new signing Puig". ¡Hola!. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Lunch with the FT: Adrian Joffe – FT.com". Retrieved 2016-08-03.
- Friedman, Vanessa. "Lunch with the FT: Adrian Joffe". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
- "G I R L by Pharrell Williams Eau de Parfum (100 ml natural spray)". Dover Street Market New York. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- Kilcooley-O'Halloran, Scarlett (March 12, 2014). "The Scent of Pharrell". Retrieved March 12, 2014.
- Sarah Mower (2006-03-04). "Comme des Garçons F/W 2006". style.com. Archived from the original on 2008-07-18. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "Junya Watanabe". NYmag. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- Mari Davis; Tom Massey; Boyd Davis. "Junya Watanabe". Fashion Windows. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "Gentle maverick Tao Kurihara's autumn collection will be the last under her own name. She explains her change of direction to Susannah Frankel". Independent.co.uk.
- "Liberty: Designer Room". Archived from the original on April 14, 2008.
- "vmagazine.com Comme des Garçons and the most avant-garde underwear around". Archived from the original on January 23, 2008.
- "Comme des Garcons for H&M". Vogue. 2008-04-03. Archived from the original on 2010-08-20. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- Wells, Pete (2013-09-17). "Rei Kawakubo and H & M: A collaboration to watch". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- Gregory, Alice (2018-09-03). "Rei Kawakubo Revealed (Sort Of) (Published 2018)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
- "John Waters on His Rei Kawakubo Obsession". The Cut. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
- "Comme Des Garcons Designer Rei Kawakubo Was Announced as the 2017 Met Gala Theme". Repeller. 2016-10-25. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
- AnOther (2017-03-09). "The Ethereal New Musical Endeavour from Jonna Lee". AnOther. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
- "Watch ionnalee's Captivating Collaboration With Commes des Garçons". www.out.com. 2017-06-03. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
- Lunny, Oisin (2017-07-01). "Dual Talents: Get To Know The Artists Bridging The Gap Between Fashion and Music". OISIN LUNNY. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
- Menkes, Suzy (February 4, 1995). "'Auschwitz' Fashions Draw Jewish Rebuke". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 10, 2015.
- Zborowska, Agata. "Uses and abuses of history: A case of a Comme des Garçons fashion show". Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty. 5 (2): 233–252.
- McCrystal, Cal (5 February 1995). "Outrage at 'death camps' pyjama fashion". Independent on Sunday.
- Villegas, Paulina (August 23, 2016). "In Arts and Culture, a 'New' Mexico Embraces Its Roots". The New York Times.
- Tejo, Lucía (April 8, 2015). "These 'pointy boots' from Mexico are in style this spring". Al Día.
- Russo, Gianluca (Jan 18, 2020). "Comme des Garçons Called Out for Cultural Appropriation During Paris Fashion Week Show".
- "juliendys on Instagram". Jan 18, 2020.
- "Peter Lindbergh for Comme des Garçons". Archived from the original on May 13, 2008.
- "Comme des Garçons Seoul Flagship Store". Hypebeast. 2010-09-01. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- Time magazine. Kawakubo announcement of 2017 exhibit. 
- "Future Systems: Comme des Garçonss". Archived from the original on April 15, 2008.
- "highsnobiety: Comme des Garçons Beijing flagship store". Archived from the original on May 3, 2008.
- "Comme des Garcons Store 2007 Hong Kong". HYPEBEAST. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008.
- Fortini, Amanda (2004-12-12). "The New York Times: The Anti-Concept Concept Store". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- Cathy Horyn (2004-02-17). "The New York Times: A Store Made for Right Now: You Shop Until It's Dropped". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "Archimedes Pool: Guerrilla Store by Comme des Garçons". Archimedespool.wordpress.com. 2007-09-21. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- Vesilind, Emili (2008-02-17). "Los Angeles Times: A hip hideaway". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "Dover Street Market | icon 017 | November 2004 | ICON MAGAZINE ONLINE". October 17, 2008. Archived from the original on October 17, 2008.
- Tamsin Blanchard (2004-10-03). "The Observer: Shabby chic". London: Observer.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- "hypebeast: Comme des Garçons Hong Kong". Archived from the original on May 1, 2008.
- "Expected brands at DSM". Archived from the original on January 24, 2012.
- Jacob Bernstein (2013-12-24). "At Dover Street Market, Differences of Opinion". nytimes.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30.