Erin Manning is University Research Chair in Relational Art and Philosophy in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University. She is the author of several books, including
Dress Becomes Body: Fashioning the Force of Form
Chapter 4 explores at once the fashion design practice of Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons) and the procedural architecture of Arakawa and Gins. “Break the idea of clothes,” has been Rei Kawakubo’s call for over forty years, a call that has motivated the creation of some of the most intriguing clothing of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, opening up the field of fashion to an architectural potential perhaps unprecedented. With Rei Kawakubo’s insistence that clothes are not a predetermined category but a proposition according to which a body is invited to continuously reinvent itself, she has led the way toward a textile-based architecting of experience. This chapter explores Kawakubo’s process in detail and asks how her practice recasts not only the realm of fashion but the way fashion situates itself in relation to other practices, especially that of architecture.