The Comme des Garçons x Mikimoto ad, shot by Kazumi Kurigami and featuring Kalle Meye at Select.
Kazumi Kurigami for Comme des Garçons x Mikimoto
Fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, who masterminded the Comme des Garçons label and Dover Street Market concept stores, has created a fine jewelry capsule collection for the first time in Comme des Garçons history, using Mikimoto pearls. The unisex collection, previewing today in Paris, will be available next month in Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market stores worldwide.
When tradition clashes with rule-breaking
The collection represents the first stage of a two-year partnership between the two Japanese brands, blending Kawakubo’s avant-garde approach with the heritage of 150-year-old Mikimoto. “Pearls line up alongside diamonds in terms of value, myriad stories spring to mind concerning pearls,” says Kawakubo. “A traditional company such as Mikimoto clashing with a breaking of the rules can lead to something new.”
The concept stems from Kawakubo’s observation that men could also look good in pearls, despite them being synonymous with women’s jewelry. Pairing perfect milky South Sea and Akoya pearls with chunky sterling silver chain, each of the seven pieces in the capsule is designed to be worn “by all, regardless of age or gender,” according to a release from Mikimoto.
For Kawakubo, the project was an “exercise in creation, making something that looks good, emphasizing the beauty of the pearl itself; refraining a little from design”, and a rejection of the current, “gratuitous” vogue for logo-heavy fashion collaborations. The gender-fluid collection taps into fashion’s co-ed movement and the growing enthusiasm for clothes and accessories than can be worn by both men and women.
Unisex jewelry at the Comme des Garçons x Mikimoto presentation in Paris, January 22, 2020.
An all-Japanese collaboration
Kawakubo has long been known as a fashion trailblazer. She set up Comme des Garçons in 1969 as a vehicle for the singular vision that has won her a cult following, receiving the ultimate accolade in 2017 when the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York dedicated its spring exhibition to the label. She opened the mother of all fashion concept stores, Dover Street Market, in London in 2004 and the brand has since expanded to include seven stores in London, Tokyo, New York, Singapore, Beijing, Los Angeles and now Dover Street Parfums Market in Paris.
Mikomoto founder Kokichi Mikimoto created the world’s first cultured pearls, with the aim of making pearl jewelry accessible for all women. Since then, Mikimoto had worked to challenge style norms and found the concept of pearls designed to be worn by men as well, innovative and challenging: “We believe this collaboration will generate a whole new wave of trends. In an era when pre-existing values are rapidly evolving, we hope to further promote the beauty and potential of pearls.”
After previewing at Couture Week in Paris today, the collection will be available from mid-February in Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market stores around the world, as well as two Mikimoto flagship stores in Ginza, Tokyo. Prices start at $2,800 and rise to $39,000.