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Thread: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

  1. #101

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    I will grudgingly admit this collaboration actually does fit into the CdG universe [link]. It is just another one of those collaborations (Fred Perry, Speedo, Peggy Moffitt, or the Junya Levis, North Face). Rei has always had a commercial aspect to her business, a good example of this being her highly successful fragrances.



    Don't get me wrong - I am all for designer integrity and keeping an uncompromising vision.



    The real question for me is - what new is this collaboration going to bring for CdG, and consumers out there?



    Bringing 'better design to the masses' sounds great in concept, but IMHO this is wishful thinking. Yes, this is a publicity coup that may result in interesting clothes, but will it really change anything? For your average H&M consumer, it will be just another collaboration to jump on, consume, digest and excrete. Once it is passed, they will simply wait for the next. Sure, it may get the CdG name out there. It might even get more people to appreciate Rei's work at CdG. But I think this collaboration will only continue to undermine the high standards that Rei once set so uncompromisingly.



    The other aspect as Laika mentioned is production - how will the fabric and construction quality of H&M be reconciled with the execution that Rei's creations demand? My guess is, while I absolutely hope not, that there will be a good lot of printed tees (think PLAY).

    let us raise a toast to ancient cotton, rotten voile, gloomy silk, slick carf, decayed goat, inflamed ram, sooty nelton, stifling silk, lazy sheep, bone-dry broad & skinny baffalo.

  2. #102

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    A bit of perspective from Vogue UK?



    The famously avant-garde Japanese label, spearheaded by design powerhouse Rei Kawakubo, will provide a range of both men's and womenswear, as well as childrenswear, accessories and a new unisex fragrance for the retailer. In honour of its Japanese roots, the collaborative line will launch exclusively at H&M in Tokyo in November before being rolled out worldwide a few days later.

    "I have always been interested in the balance between creation and business," says Kawakubo of the collaboration. "It is a dilemma, although for me creation has always been the first priority. It is a fascinating challenge to work with H&M since it is a chance to take the dilemma to its extreme, and try to solve it."

    "Rei Kawakubo has been on the top of our wish list for a long time (huh?) and we are thrilled that she has chosen to collaborate with us," adds H&M creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch. "We have tremendous respect for Kawakubo's fashion philosophy questioning fashion's ingrained patterns and we admire her artistic approach to design. We are particularly excited to launch the collection in Kawakubo?s native country at our launch in Japan."

  3. #103

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="Serendipper"]


    I'm going with Faust and Zamb on this one.





    Just imagine if Ann Demeleumeester/H&M were announced. All hell would shake loose, and for good reason.





    R.K. should not get a pass on this one. I look forward to seeing how they think they can make it relevant, in terms of marketing.





    The tried and true H&M shopper seems to be a 180 from a Comme diehard. It seems to be a business move that could alienate both potential customers. I just don't get it.




    [/quote]




    No one would give a shit apart from about 5 people on this board, which is hardly all hell shaking or indeedbreaking loose. (And asI alluded to in the section of this discussion before comparative positions were banned, in my view she already does something pretty similar, but just doesn't include the H&M label on.)




    I don't think I or anyone else is saying she should get a pass - just that it may be interesting, it maynot be, but let's just see. I think that the last point you make is exactly why it may be interesting. I have never bought a single thing from H&M.



  4. #104
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    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    I think CDG diversified years ago with shirt, play etc. so whats the big deal with H&M? Its just a diffusion line of a diffusion line of a diffusion line. For me I bought my first piece of CDG in the eighties and bought nothing through the nineties and nothing until SS08 when I bought again.



    CDG is not CCP etc. They are first and foremost a business that occasionally does something magical like Dover Street Market. If you buy fashion because of the lineage and the purity of intention you might as well walk around naked.


  5. #105

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="Johnny"]


    No one would give a shit apart from about 5 people on this board, which is hardly all hell shaking or indeedbreaking loose. (And asI alluded to in the section of this discussion before comparative positions were banned, in my view she already does something pretty similar, but just doesn't include the H&M label on.)




    I don't think I or anyone else is saying she should get a pass - just that it may be interesting, it maynot be, but let's just see. I think that the last point you make is exactly why it may be interesting. I have never bought a single thing from H&M.





    [/quote]




    If we are talking about designers compromising their integrity by lowering their standards, I think the comparison to Ann is very valid. At least with a collection for H&M, there is a certain transparency between price and value (from the buyer's point of view). The same cannot be said for compromising quality while maintaining/raising prices.




    (And Faust, on the subject of comparisons: Rick Owens is campy as camp can be--he says it himself--and you don't seem to have any problem with him. And it's not just limited to camp with him either--he does all sorts of things that fall under the rubric of the post-modernity you claim to so despise. So your criticism of Rei on this basis seems entirely subjective and taste-based, if not simply unfounded.)




    I also think the collaboration could be interesting, although I share avanster's fear about the printed tees. [79]But out of all the designers who have produced collections for H&M, Rei seems oddly the best suited. She's absolutely genius at fusing art and commerce, and in my view, has managed to maintain a kind of integrity even in her most commercial ventures. So I am keeping an open mind, even if I'm not overly hopeful...


    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  6. #106

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="Serendipper"]




    She was not the first to say this. Unfortunately, the futurist, purist, and yes, fasict cultures behind some of the flags past flown in the 20th century are amongst the strongest and most enduring examples of design. But it would be a mistake to leave art and fashion out of the category of relevance to that which informs our collective identity as a 21st century society. A designer, in order to maintain integrity, should maintain some sort of standard. If there is no standard set by the artist, then how are we to judge it's value, as it's intended recipients?






    [/quote]




    seren, what are you talking about? Who is leaving it out? [76]

    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  7. #107
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="laika"][quote user="Johnny"]


    No one would give a shit apart from about 5 people on this board, which is hardly all hell shaking or indeedbreaking loose. (And asI alluded to in the section of this discussion before comparative positions were banned, in my view she already does something pretty similar, but just doesn't include the H&M label on.)




    I don't think I or anyone else is saying she should get a pass - just that it may be interesting, it maynot be, but let's just see. I think that the last point you make is exactly why it may be interesting. I have never bought a single thing from H&M.





    [/quote]




    If we are talking about designers compromising their integrity by lowering their standards, I think the comparison to Ann is very valid. At least with a collection for H&M, there is a certain transparency between price and value (from the buyer's point of view). The same cannot be said for compromising quality while maintaining/raising prices.




    (And Faust, on the subject of comparisons: Rick Owens is campy as camp can be--he says it himself--and you don't seem to have any problem with him. And it's not just limited to camp with him either--he does all sorts of things that fall under the rubric of the post-modernity you claim to so despise. So your criticism of Rei on this basis seems entirely subjective and taste-based, if not simply unfounded.)




    I also think the collaboration could be interesting, although I share avanster's fear about the printed tees. [79]But out of all the designers who have produced collections for H&M, Rei seems oddly the best suited. She's absolutely genius at fusing art and commerce, and in my view, has managed to maintain a kind of integrity even in her most commercial ventures. So I am keeping an open mind, even if I'm not overly hopeful...




    [/quote]



    What?! The reason I did not even bother responding, because it is absolutely not valid - it's laughable. [74] There is no way on earth it's even close - simply moving production to another country while maintaining the complexity of design, does not equal making generic crap with the same materials and modes of production that H&M does. So in your view Dries van Noten and Raf Simons have no integrity either? There is absolutely no comparison between this stuff that will be made in sweatshops and disposed of by consumers in a few months.



    And let's drop Rick Owens already - we obviously have different visions of camp.

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  8. #108

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    ^thank you, thank you Faust! I thought for a moment that the world had gone crazy! [<:o)]



    It's mostly psychological what it states on the label("made in ..."). Surely Italy, France etc. are renowned for their "high quality luxury goods", but these emergent economies(Asia, eastern Europe etc.) are able to produce high quality, but yes for low cost labour(another ethical issue arises here!). The myth of "western quality dominance" implies political and economic strategies ...

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  9. #109
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    /\ not to mention that Ann D., unlike Rei, is not calling the shots when it comes to production - Ann Chapelle does.



    Get back to me about Ann's integrity when she has a couple of diffusion lines, a thriving fragrance business, underwear splattered with her name, speedo collaboration, and a husband speaking at global luxury business conferences along with Louis Vuitton.

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  10. #110

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    Oh give me a break, Faust. Saying two things are comparable is not the same as saying they are identical. Fuuma and becoming-intense already covered this. We are talking about compromising integrity by lowering standards, and that's where the comparison lies. AndDriesmay be outsourcing, butatleasthe passes some savings on to the consumer...which, according to you, the expert,Ann does not. You arethe one who keeps harping on and on about this, not me or Johnny. Or perhaps you have changed your views and are now in full agreement with becoming-intense? Whose views on this topicyouwere also tryingto dismiss just recently?




    And don't tell me what to "drop". All I've tried to do is understand what you arereferring towhen you use words like camp. I understand the word in the same way that Rick Owens does; apparently you do not. If you ever feel like explaining yourself, I'll be all ears. But until then, it's really this "discussion," that's laughable.


    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  11. #111
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    too funny, laika. if you can't understand the same thing i've talke about over and over, i can do nothing for you. go on, keep harping on. can we at least get back to the subject, which johnny so successfully derailed by his "comparison"?




    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  12. #112

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    This thread needs a cat picture with a funny caption to defuse the tension. Where's the love? I am thankfully sick enough to be unable to pull my thought together and anyway won't have the time before I cough and inundate the screen with snot (yes I know). I'll spend the evening watching some BBC doc about Christian exegesis (on a Friday).




    PS: can everyone please study the difference between a comparison, a parallel and an equivalence because it?ll be damn hard to discuss anything otherwise.




    PS2: no matter what I say here, who I am kidding, I?m not even going inside an H&M in the next few yrs?


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  13. #113

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    Fuuma....[70]




    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  14. #114

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="laika"][quote user="Serendipper"]




    She was not the first to say this. Unfortunately, the futurist, purist, and yes, fasict cultures behind some of the flags past flown in the 20th century are amongst the strongest and most enduring examples of design. But it would be a mistake to leave art and fashion out of the category of relevance to that which informs our collective identity as a 21st century society. A designer, in order to maintain integrity, should maintain some sort of standard. If there is no standard set by the artist, then how are we to judge it's value, as it's intended recipients?






    [/quote]




    seren, what are you talking about? Who is leaving it out? [76]




    [/quote]





    I was speaking in general terms Laika. Pardon my use of such a broad brush. Perhaps I can elaborate on this subject in another thread, as the CDG thread has gone off on enough of a tangent as it is...





    ...I love your point of view, even if we don't fully agree on everything. Look forward to more conversations with you, Faust, and the gang.[51]




  15. #115

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="BECOMING-INTENSE"]


    ^thank you, thank you Faust! I thought for a moment that the world had gone crazy! [<:o)]




    It's mostly psychological what it states on the label("made in ..."). Surely Italy, France etc. are renowned for their "high quality luxury goods", but these emergent economies(Asia, eastern Europe etc.) are able to produce high quality, but yes for low cost labour(another ethical issue arises here!). The myth of "western quality dominance" implies political and economic strategies ...




    [/quote]




    According to my cdg labels the clothes are made in Japan, so I'm not talking about, nor subscribe to,western quality dominance, mythical or otherwise. Let's assume for a second that we are ok to make comparisons....belgian designers who've moved some of their production to eastern europe must have done it for a reason. It will not have been to deliberately reduce quality, but I think it will have been to save on costs. If so, shouldn't they pass on the savings to the consumer, and if they don't isn't that a bad thing?(Which may have an impact on integrity, which, in relation to cdg, is what was being attacked by Faust.)In any case it does relate to quality too. My experience is that Dries will still make his complicated knits in Belgium, presumably because he feels that only there can he get the expertise to make the garment the way he wants it.The plain navy sweaters are done in Turkey, because a plain navy sweater is a plain navy sweater.(I actually think that Dries has passed on certain costs savings, but I don't see any evidence of that with Demuelemeester.) I am absolutely certian that Dries stuff made in Belgium is better than the other stuff.




    I didn't think I'd derrailed this conversation at all, at least by my original comment, and apologies if that's the case. I think that certain of the views expressed here are expressed so vitriolicallythat that invites comparisons with "favourites" on the basis that if oneis not giving the benefit of the doubt to X,why should it be given to Y. It's the mode of expression that causes the tensions here not the points that are being made. (Like Fuuma, I seriously doubt whether I'll buy any of the stuff from H&M, although that is largely irrelevant.)Peace out!


  16. #116

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="BECOMING-INTENSE"]


    It's mostly psychological what it states on the label("made in ..."). Surely Italy, France etc. are renowned for their "high quality luxury goods", but these emergent economies(Asia, eastern Europe etc.) are able to produce high quality, but yes for low cost labour(another ethical issue arises here!). The myth of "western quality dominance" implies political and economic strategies ...




    [/quote]




    Absolutely true. This is what I meant when I mentioned, awhile back, the problem with means of production when it comes to these collaborations. Along with disposability, I think this is is the biggestethical issue with any "affordable" designer collection.

    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  17. #117

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    [quote user="Johnny"][




    I didn't think I'd derrailed this conversation at all, at least by my original comment, and apologies if that's the case. I think thatcertain of the views expressed here are expressed so vitriolicallythat that invites comparisons with "favourites" on the basis that if oneis not giving the benefit of the doubt to X,why should it be given to Y. It's the mode of expression that causes the tensions here not the points that are being made. (Like Fuuma, I seriously doubt whether I'll buy any of the stuff from H&M, although that is largely irrelevant.)Peace out!




    [/quote]




    Yes, that is certainly what provokes me to get embroiled in these situations! [79] And perhaps to express myself more passionately than I would otherwise.

    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  18. #118

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    Whoa, this is getting intense. I hope Laika and Faust can remain friends through this, because it's provided a really great conversation.



    Maybe I'm wrong, but to me this boils down to the debate between Modernists (Faust) and Post Modernists (Laika) which is why the two of you are bumping heads time and time again, these ideologies may be irreconcilable which is why these arguments can only end with a final "agree to disagree".



    Personally, I'm more in Laika's camp with this one. The whole Comme Des Garcon manifesto seems to be a very postmodern "everything is fair game" for art and inspiration. This collab. with H&M fits very well with her attitude of surprising collaborations and constant innovation and exploration of unexpected territories (including pop culture). I don't see how you can fault Rei for doing this when it's perfectly in line with the CDG attitude, unless you have a problem with the core of CDG to begin with. It's just like you can't accuse Andy Warhol of selling out, when his art is about embracing mass culture. I'm not saying Rei is like Warhol, but I'm saying this collab. clearly fits into Rei's artistic ideology, so where's the problem?



    While I agree with Faust's concerns about the dumbing down of art, I can't accuse Rei of participating in this. There was a problem created when conceptual and avant guarde artists starting turning everything into art to see how far one can stretch the boundaries. This led to a "well if they can do it, so can I!" attitude that produced a shit-load of bad and uninformed work. What these people didn't understand is that the avant guarde came from a tradition and was a natural growth in a historical line that pushed the boundaries until we got to the edge, it was not just some guy deciding to put a toilet in a museum for no reason. The other problem about conceptual art, unlike previous movements, is once a concept is done, it's over. There cannot be another Andy Warhol, John Cage, Duchamp etc. They pushed the boundaries in their areas as far as they would go, so to copy them would be redundant. But Rei has been in the game for a long time and knows very well the historical tradition she comes from, so I don't think it's fair to lump her together with Madonna et all who don't know what there doing but are under the false impression that because in post modernism everything goes, everything is easy.



    I don't know if anything good will come out of the collection, but I hope Rei does something really extreme that gets a big WTF from the general population.


  19. #119

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    [quote user="casem83"]The whole Comme Des Garcon manifesto seems to be a very postmodern "everything is fair game" for art and inspiration. This collab. with H&M fits very well with her attitude of surprising collaborations and constant innovation and exploration of unexpected territories (including pop culture). I don't see how you can fault Rei for doing this when it's perfectly in line with the CDG attitude, unless you have a problem with the core of CDG to begin with. It's just like you can't accuse Andy Warhol of selling out, when his art is about embracing mass culture. I'm not saying Rei is like Warhol, but I'm saying this collab. clearly fits into Rei's artistic ideology, so where's the problem?[/quote]




    I agree with casem on this part, I think the whole concept kind of fits with CDG. whether or not thats something a person accepts to begin with is another issue, in which I can kind of understand both liking it and disliking it. comparing their way of working or their conceptsto any other label is really hard.

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  20. #120

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    I have been away for a while, so forgive me for not being up to speed. This conversation is very interesting, on part because of the emotions it stirs up on all sides. I wouldn't be surprised if Rei would enjoy this, I think her work has always been about forcing the discussion and analysis of fashion on topics that we perhaps thought were self-evident. There is a lot of negativity I am reading with regards to Comme (esp. lately) but I really think that evaluating her work on one's own personal style/aesthetics sorta misses the point of her work. I see her as one who embraces "challenges", the bigger the better. Many of us assume that a good collaboration between high (CDG) and low (H&M) is impossible, but as Fuuma said, it is a very interesting problem. As much as Rei embraces collaborations with big corporations, I doubt it is only about making money or having a stable business practice (she already has both), rather she has the influence big companies to act outside of their selves (to make designs, use techniques or technologies in other ways than they were intended). It can be a radical act to subvert from within.

    with regards to the flag quote, many of you are reading the word "purest" as a positive value, but I urge you to consider that Rei might not consider purity to be such a good thing. Her work is often like strategic messes, by mixing the high and low, allowing for something unique or unexpected often comes of it. I took her to mean that the flag is one of the clearest symbolic forms (and therefore one of the biggest challenges), how do you recontextualize it? How do you pull meaning apart and put it back together in new ways? Ann D. often works in a similar fashion by printing the works of artists that she likes on her clothes, but Rei is taking it much further by using such loaded (and often ugly) sources and physically reassembling them into something very different.

    Liking or not liking the collection is almost irrelevant, it seems to be about opening possibilities of what a garment can do or address. I love her work because it makes me think, even when I am not enamored by the objects that she is making, because she is pushing me to define what I think clothing is, and tearing up some of my assumptions in the process.

    I don't see this as a modernist/post modern argument at all. It is a structural question: how can one break down, reassemble and recontextualize systems? (business, popular taste, symbols, or clothing companies who have a very simple strategic plan-like H&M) The Modernists were doing this with the picture plane, the Pomos have done this with language (just one of many examples). Both desire a movement forward - to not let art/culture/design/politics become static but to stay in flux.

    I am intrigued by what she will come up with, even if is sucks, and I will be interested in her process and the ideas considered. What I love about this site is the devotion members have for specific designers, but it makes me really sad when that devotion closes out the possibilities or sense of interest in things that may not (initially) be ones cup of tea.[51]



    Sorry if this is a little disjointed, I am very tired.





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