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Life doesn’t frighten me

Michelle Elie wears Comme des Garçons
3 April – 30 August 2020

Clothing becomes fashion based on cultural context. The Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo founded her fashion label Comme des Garçons (German: Wie Jungs) in 1969. To this day, her aim is not to please, instead of playfully and lustfully disturbing the male gaze, which is controlled by Western ideals of beauty. Kawakubo breaks conventions of the art of cutting by means of deconstruction, displacement, destruction and bulges without regard to body shapes. Wearers appropriate the dress objects, bringing them to life in their specific contexts, not without causing a stir. Comme des Garçons denies the norm, attracts attention and usually provokes.

Designer and fashion icon Michelle Elie loves, collects and lives Kawakubo's designs passionately - at the international fashion fairs she cyclically visits and in her everyday life in Cologne. The Museum Angewandte Kunst shows Elie's collection and lets her tell the stories of the matching pieces on her own: From the moment of discovery, through acquisition, to the experience on the specific body and the most different reactions that wearing it provokes within others. "Life doesn't frighten me," says the Haitian-born artist, and it truly takes courage to wear Kawakubo and thereby clearly position herself against social standards. As a black woman in a white majority society with her appropriate notions of beauty, Elie defies any norm via her mere being. With Comme des Garçons on her body, she confidently exaggerates her physical experiences and thereby challenges viewers to reflect on their own physical experience.

Source: (Website mak)

> museum angewandte kunst

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