In today's collab-happy times, joint ventures (particularly on the high street) are a dime a dozen. But when we learned that legendary animator Matt Groening, the man behind both The Simpsons and the late-70s comic strip Life in Hell, was launching a capsule line with Comme des Garçons, we were intrigued.
While the fashion flock boasts some interesting characters, to be sure, cartoons and couture have seemingly little in common. Turns out, however, that Groening was quite familiar with Rei Kawakubo's avant-garde designs long before the pair partnered up. "Believe it or not," he told us, "I was an existing fan of her work. I happened to be in Tokyo at the time when Rei asked me to tea, and I had no idea what our meeting was going to be about, to be honest--and then she mentioned her idea of doing a collaboration." Assuming that the designer wanted him to integrate Marge, Bart, and Homer into the one-off pieces, Groening said he was surprised when Kawakubo requested the tees feature Life in Hell's Binky and Sheba instead. "But I completely trusted her every step of the way--her judgment, her direction," Groening said. "In fact, it's the only time I can remember that I've ever trusted someone 100% with a project like this. I just loved every single idea she came to me with."
While the bunny-covered totes on display at the store's entryway were a special one-night-only item, the capsule collection's short- and long-sleeved tops, all of which feature Life in Hell characters along with PLAY's beloved heart logo, will be available later this month. For our part, we got a kick out of watching the event's guests--a mix of die-hard Groening fans and CDG buffs--mix and mingle. One young man approached the animator to show him the large-scale Bart Simpson tattoo on his bicep (Groening was thrilled, and immediately snapped a photo on his phone). Meanwhile, we spied so many attendees sporting Comme des Garçons buckled leather bustiers from the spring collection that we lost count. The evening's most outlandishly-dressed guest, however, had to be the partygoer who arrived in full rabbit regalia--yes, down to the ears and pom-pom tail. A nod to Binky, Sheba, and Akbar, perhaps? Nope--he had just lost a bet earlier that day.
**Photos: 24 Hour Party People