Last December, fashion brand Comme des Garçons delighted the Mayfair set with a guerrilla store in London’s Burlington Arcade to promote the launch of its Comme des Garçons 8 88 perfume.
Open only for just a week, the store, designed by Christian Weinecke, sold the new fragrance and rare, vintage Comme des Garçons Parfum T-shirts, among other collectables. Michael Howells, meanwhile, created a factory-style exhibition space to support the launch of the perfume.
It is this fresh approach, and particularly the guerrilla stores created by Weinecke, that have made the company a winner over time. The windows of its London stores are invariably inspiring, and the avant-garde collections and accessories are to die for.
Designer Rei Kawakubo established some 100 Comme des Garçons stores in Japan in the 1970s, having founded the company in 1973. She made her European debut in 1981 with her first show in Paris, and has since developed stores across the Continent and in London.
She is renowned for having no formal training in tailoring, though her clothes are often sculptured. Her background includes a degree in aesthetics, a period of work within a Japanese textiles company and training as a stylist.
Kawakubo is also generous in her approach. Her protégé Junya Watanabe has designed both womenswear (in 1992) and menswear (in 2001) collections under the Comme des Garçons brand. ‹