Skirt, womens, cotton, designed and made by Comme des Garçons Co Ltd, Japan, mid 1990s, owned by Gene Sherman, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, mid 1990s-2007.
This combination of skirt and trousers was designed by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. Kawakubo, born in 1942 in Japan, is widely acknowledged to be one of the world's most original and influential fashion designers. After studying literature and fine arts at the Keio University, she worked for several years in advertising before establishing her own clothing label, 'Comme des Garçons' (Like some boys) in Japan in 1973.
Although initially using monochromatic black as her signature, Kawakubo introduced colour into later collections which, combined with daring and unexpected combinations of textures and patterns, have become her hallmarks. Comme des Garçons garments generally have layers of clothing that are oversized, asymmetrical, unstructured and even padded. The cutting, construction and use of textiles was also new, with fabrics incorporating rips, holes and frayed seams.
The piece forms part of The Gene Sherman Collection. The Collection reflects Sherman's individual style as well as her appreciation of Japanese fashion. Dr Gene Sherman is Director of Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) in Paddington, Sydney. Its predecessor, Sherman Galleries, founded in 1988, was one of Australia's major commercial art galleries, until it closed in 2007. Dr Sherman organised many exhibitions of contemporary art from Australia and the Asia-Pacific region and has played an important role connecting art and artists in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Dr Gene Sherman was a trustee of the Powerhouse Museum between 1995 and 2001 and special advisor to the Museum between 2002 and 2004. Born in South Africa, Sherman lives in Sydney with her husband Brian Sherman.
Curator, Asian Arts & Design
The skirt was designed and made by Comme des Garçons in Japan in the mid 1990s.
The skirt was owned by Gene Sherman in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, from the mid 1990s to 2007.
"Comme des Garcon's. Too bunchy in the end. Acquired Sydney, around 2002. Bought a simpler version New York in January 2003 when I gave Ah Xian Asia Society talk. [29/09/03]" Reference from Gene Sherman's collection note book.
This collection of Japanese fashion, designed by four fashion houses, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons and the Japanese-Australian designer Akira Isogawa, was formed by Dr Gene Sherman from the late 1980s to 2007 and donated to the Powerhouse Museum in 2009 under the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
Dr Gene Sherman has been collecting avant-garde Japanese fashion for about 20 years. Dr Sherman bought her first piece of Japanese clothing - an asymmetrical one-armed leather jacket by Issey Miyake which is included in this donation - at Rhonda Parry's boutique in Double Bay in 1985. Since then, she has only worn clothes designed by Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons and Akira Isogawa. She explained that her wardrobe consisted of only 20 pieces, noting that "when I acquire something, I retire a piece into my archives". Sherman had special black cardboard boxes made to museum archival standards for storing these 'retired' pieces in her attic.