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What Olivia Kim Wore to the Comme des Garçons-Themed Met Gala

“I have a very zen approach,” said Olivia Kim on her way to the Met Gala last night. “What’s meant to fit, work and come together, will.” New goal: May all be as cool-headed and easygoing before big events.

All of fashion—and many bold names from art, design and media—were at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to honor one of the industry’s most brilliant minds: Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. But that’s our Olivia, taking it all in stride. The look tonight just feels very me. That’s the best way to explain it.”

“In celebration of our hero Rei Kawakubo, Spy and I are both donning very conceptual thing-a-ma-jigs,” Olivia wrote on Instagram, with a similar image. “Mine is black crinoline tulle and his is clear plexi.”

“I’ve been wearing Comme since I was in high school,” explained our VP of Creative Projects. “So it’s full circle in a sense. When I first started thinking about it, honestly I was thinking, ‘I wear Comme des Garçons almost every day—how can I wear it in a way that feels special enough for the Met Gala?'”

The solution? To go deep with it, and remain abstract about it at the very same time. How very Rei of her.

Olivia’s look—she’s in head-to-toe Junya Watanabewith a vintage handbagis a knowing and respectful nod to the designer-as-matriarch; to what we called, in this editorial feature about the CdG dynasty, the designer’s “benevolent vision and the sheltering, umbrella-like structure of her atelier.”

“At last year’s Met Gala, I wore Molly Goddard for the Manus x Machina theme to highlight her hand embroidery on a very futuristic neon green dress. This year, for Comme des Garçons,” she concluded, “we will wear Comme family.”

And did she ever. With not a second to lose, either.

“For the most part, I always wait until the last minute. I literally went down to the store,” she said, referring to our downtown Seattle flagship, “on Thursday night to try a few options on before I left to go to New York on Friday morning. The SPACE team and I just played. I tried on different combos, and just mixed and matched until I found something that worked. My overall approach to events like this—first and foremost: You have to be comfortable and like what you’re wearing. I don’t believe in the pressure to find just the right thing. What you find is the right thing for that moment.”

“And I’m super glad I found this runway harness piece, which takes everything underneath it to the next level. You can wear it with jeans and a T-shirt to make it more everyday, but dressing it up is really fun.”

Of course, all of this has us thinking about the brand new, of-the-moment Comme des Garçons family collections in our stores and online.

As reported by the fashion press, the spring season came from Rei Kawakubo’s ideas about “invisible clothes,” and as always, it’s necessary to look beyond obvious meaning when connecting the designer’s references with the conceptual, theatrical pieces she sends down the runway. In a season where designers everywhere seemed to be commenting on empowered women and feminine strength, the Comme des Garçons collection featured built and structured garments that created all kinds of space around the body—so much so that at times the models needed to turn and twist to let each other pass by.

Looks from the SPACE edit of Comme des Garçons’s spring runway collection;
all images courtesy Comme des Garçons

While many of the trademark CdG motifs persist this season—schoolgirl ruffles, classic plaid, pure black—the invitation to look and understand more deeply was what moved the audience back in Paris that day. How do we use clothes to show up in our lives—and the lives of others? Each Comme des Garçons collection presents an opportunity to address subtle ideas within style and dress, and that’s what makes the critical mass of the Met’s exhibit such a heady and powerful thing.

If you want to wade in a bit more slowly, may we suggest warming up with the friends-and-family brands: Junya Watanabe and Noir Kei Ninomiyaas well as those iconic little CdG leather goods and the latest arrivals from Comme des Garçons Comme des Garçons. That last one, the mothership’s subset of dresses and separates, is said to be where Rei pulls her own everyday wardrobe. We trust that like Olivia, you’ll find ways of making it all look both easy and extraordinary.

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—Laura Cassidy

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