COMME des GARÇONS is one of the best-connected brands in the business, having partnered with household names as diverse as Basquiat, Gucci and KAWS in its nearly 50-year-history. Now, founder Rei Kawakubo is reuniting with old pal Richard Stark, the co-founder of a little brand called Chrome Hearts, for a small seasonal capsule of extremely expensive one-offs.
For the uninitiated, it's shocking how influential Kawakubo has been in engendering the Japanese careers of independent artists.
From Paul Harnden to Christopher Nemeth, Kawakubo spent much of her career uplifting creatives who shared her maverick spirit, either by bringing them in to collaborate with COMME des GARÇONS or stocking their lines at Dover Street Market.
Chrome Hearts is perhaps best known as the contemporary rapper's flex brand of choice but the ultra low-key label is really just focused on uncompromising quality and attention to detail.
Its relatively newfound relevance is merely a byproduct of success.
Back in 1991, Kawakubo invited Stark to model Chrome Hearts wares as part of an exhibition at COMME des GARÇONS' Aoyama flagship, where the Japanese brand still showcases new collections to its staff and select press.
Humbled by the experience, Stark purchased one of COMME des GARÇONS' signature black shirts, replaced the buttons with silver Chrome Hearts buttons, wrote CHROME des GARÇONS on the tag, and gave it to Kawakubo as a gift.
Presumably, the two have remained friendly since, as some Dover Street locations still stock Chrome Hearts — one of the few third party retail locations to do so — and they issued a few collaborative T-shirts over the years.
For FW21, Chrome and COMME are back together with their first proper collaboration in about three decades, available exclusively at COMME des GARÇONS Osaka.
There, customers may peruse 19 contemporary COMME des GARÇONS items from both women's and men's mainline collections that've been customized in typical Chrome Hearts fashion at CdG's request — no bootlegs here. Prices range from ¥340k to ¥2.1m (about $3k to $18k).
In typical CdG fashion, the new partnership hasn't been promoted online and won't be available anywhere outside of Japan.
Highsnobiety reached out to CdG representatives for more information but the company didn't have anything else to offer.