a) rayon, cotton, plastic; b) rayon, metal; c) cotton, elasticine blend
Gift of Comme des Garçons, 2004
Not on view
Part of the "Beyond Taboo" collection, this ensemble by Rei Kawakubo references a brassiere from the 1950s, the period of the bust's most highly eroticized focus. However, Kawakubo cites its least provocative form, the long-line, and she fashions her design in a cotton voided velvet fabric that situates it as outerwear. The long-line was originally intended to provide greater support for women with larger breasts, the ostensible period ideal. But the detailing was more orthopedic than sexy, and Kawakubo stresses this practicality in her version. When she transposes the brassiere to the rear, however, her critique of the sexist equivalence of the cleavage of breasts to that of the buttocks flirts dangerously with a reinvestment of the erotic to the garment.
Marking: a,c) [label] "COMME des GARCONS"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Extreme Beauty: The Body Transformed," December 4, 2001–March 17, 2002.