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Rei Kawakubo: The Sphinx Speaks!


Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo was in Beijing this week to open her new store in the city’s Sanlitun retail complex. The 68-year-old designer—who apparently went completely silent when asked whether she had any plans to retire—spoke to Women’s Wear Daily about her business, her designs, and her particular shopping patterns. The entire Q&A (available here) is well worth a read, especially given how rarely Kawakubo speaks with the press, but we’ve culled some of our favorite bits below.

On the changing style in China: “When I came here 10 years ago there were no people who would wear Comme des Garçons. I was just in the towns and didn’t go to the places where fashionable people gathered, but now it is much more casual. I used to enjoy seeing people wearing communist workers’ clothes and I don’t see that anymore.”

On the changing inspiration for her line: “Do you think it’s changed? For me it hasn’t changed at all. The way I approach each collection is exactly the same…the motivation has always been to create something new, something that didn’t exist before.”

On the impact of fast fashion: “The value of creation is diminishing, and very expensive things are not interesting.”

On where she prefers to shop: “At airports, because I don’t have time to shop. I buy my cosmetics at the airport and there’s nothing else much I buy. I just don’t have time.”

Above: Comme des Garçons Spring 2011.

Photo: Gianni Pucci /

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