MODE ET PHOTO - COMME DES GARCONS
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
By Thierry-Maxime Loriot - Taken from “Peter Lindbergh. A Different Vision on Fashion Photography” (TASCHEN, 2016)
For almost five decades Lindbergh has collaborated with iconic fashion figures from their first collections until now, including Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano, and also, notably, with Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo and her label Comme des Garçons. She presented her first collection in Paris in 1981, freshly arrived from Tokyo with Yohji Yamamoto, with their radical fashion. Her avant-garde creations were considered shocking by many but were a counterproposal to the exuberant golden ’80s, mixing Japanese traditional clothes and French savoir-faire.
>“What is strong about Peter’s work is the humanity inherent in his photographs. What you notice is not just the models and the clothes, but the strength of the people themselves.”
The photographer’s minimalist aesthetics — grainy and cinematic images he had created for different magazines — caught the attention of Kawakubo and initiated an artistic partnership. Her post-apocalyptic destructured clothes, designed as architectural pieces in relation to the body, were as much admired as criticized back then as some traditional journalists considered her creations anti-fashion and unwearable. Kawakubo gave Lindbergh complete freedom to create her total visual appearance as a new, avant-garde brand arriving in Europe. In 1988, he shot Linda Evangelista, Kirsten Owen and Michaela Bercu standing motionless in front of enormous cogwheels and steam, expressing all the visual and emotional baggage carried from his childhood memories. Kawakubo said: “What is strong about Peter’s work is the humanity inherent in his photographs. What you notice is not just the models and the clothes, but the strength of the people themselves.”
When Lindbergh first met the Japanese designer in 1981, she did not speak a word of French or English. The first meeting, done with the help of a translator, was a shock, according to Lindbergh, when he discovered for the first time the modernity of her conceptual clothes, a breath of fresh air to the Paris scene.
These photographic collaborations were part of an exhibition at Centre Georges-Pompidou in Paris in 1986, celebrating the avant-garde of Kawakubo and Lindbergh.