Someone was going to show up in a classic Comme Des Garcons signature piece – the kind of piece that isn’t conventionally “wearable” but that is unmistakably Rei Kawakubo. A garment that’s also a sculpture. The only question: who would have the honour, who would be the chosen? Because Rei Kawakubo is notoriously particular. She’s never going to just hand her art off to someone who doesn’t understand how to respect it.
Have you ever had one of those seaweed wrap body treatments at the spa? I didn’t know I was claustrophobic until I tried one a few years ago. It happened as soon as I couldn’t create any distance between my arms and my body. I felt trapped. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I started thrashing. It can’t just be me, right? I can’t have been the first person to have panicked in that situation. Is it weird that I wasn’t warned? I feel like the wrap treatments should come with a warning. Then again, even if I was warned, I think I would have done it anyway because, at the time, I didn’t know. You don’t know until you’ve been bound.
Helen clearly doesn’t have this problem. Or maybe she does and this is her level of commitment to the CDG artform. And it requires a COMMITMENT. The practical commitment of sitting in the car, without being able to use your hands, for however long it takes to drive to the MET and then on the carpet and up the stairs and into the museum, and through the exhibit. You can’t put on a piece like this and walk around like you’re apologising. You can’t put on a piece like this and expect to be understood by the many, by Facebook, by the MiniVan Majority. In fact, you put on a piece like this specifically to perform agitation. She did. And Rei Kawakubo knew she could. That’s why it had to be Helen.