Rei Kawakubo Will Be 2nd Living Designer Ever to Get a Costume Institute Exhibition

The 2017 Met Gala will celebrate the Comme des Garçons designer and will be co-chaired by Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams.
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The 2017 Met Gala will celebrate the Comme des Garçons designer and will be co-chaired by Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams.
A look from Comme des Garçons's spring 2017 collection. Photo: Jonas Gustavsson/Getty Images

A look from Comme des Garçons's spring 2017 collection. Photo: Jonas Gustavsson/Getty Images

After months of speculation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced on Friday morning that its 2017 spring Costume Institute exhibit and gala will honor legendary Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo. This will be just the second spring exhibit in the museum's history to spotlight a living designer, the first being Yves Saint Laurent in 1973. 

Confirmed to Fashionista by a representative for Vogue, the 2017 Met Gala will take place on Monday, May 1 with Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams serving as the party's co-chairs and Apple, Condé Nast, Farfetch, H&M and Maison Valentino as its sponsors. Vogue and The New York Times were the first to report the announcement.

The exhibit itself — which opens Thursday, May 4 — will feature approximately 120 Comme des Garçons womenswear pieces, designed by Kawakubo, now 74, from as early as the brand's very first Paris runway show in 1981. And unlike prior Costume Institute shows, the garments will not be placed behind glass partitions and will instead be placed at eye-level without any barriers. 

"Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years," Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, said in a press release. "By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time."

Note: This story has been updated to include confirmation, as well as the quote from Bolton.

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