Early last week, KAWS' new COMME des GARÇONS SHIRT collaboration hit Dover Street Market stores and COMME des GARÇONS' own flagships. Unsurprisingly, much of it immediately sold out, but the real interesting bit here is just how this collection captures a moment that's been a long time coming for both parties.
It's not entirely clear how KAWS and COMME des GARÇONS first came together, admittedly, but it seems likely that KAWS' OriginalFake brand, which operated primarily out of Japan, may have first brought the pair together (speculation, but, hey). It's also likely that Sarah Andelman introduced KAWS to CdG, given that one of the duo's earliest collaborative drops — a unique Bendy toy — dropped at the Colette Meets COMME des GARÇONS event in 2004 (this is the collab-heavy event that also yielded those Raf Simons Vans)
Three years later, COMME des GARÇONS enlisted KAWS (and Chrome Hearts) for its 2007 "Sparkling Party" campaign, yielding T-shirts and CDG wallets. These goods were printed with sketchy COMME des GARÇONS branding that KAWS has used for several ensuing CdG team-ups, including the new SHIRT drop.
Oh, and in 2014, COMME des GARÇONS Parfums once again tapped KAWS for a multi-faceted launch, this time for Pharrell Williams' Girl fragrance. Again, Andelman was the glue here, as Pharrell was taken by the Wonderwood scent that Andelman had worn to Art Basel years earlier.
Just a couple years ago, KAWS contributed some special Dover Street Market tees to the CdG-owned retailer's Monochromarket event and, this summer, he linked with sacai for some very flashy wares (okay, sacai isn't a COMME des GARÇONS brand but designer Chitose Abe cut her teeth at imprints overseen by founder Rei Kawakubo and Junya Watanabe).
Phew. That all brings us to the new COMME des GARÇONS SHIRT line, which is a pretty appropriate place for KAWS to end up. See, SHIRT is nominally a more basic COMME des GARÇONS imprint, though it has shifted to workwear-y chore coats and oversized slacks steeped in blue-collar European style. Recent years, however, have brought SHIRT together with street-leaning artists and frequent KAWS friend Supreme, so the new KAWS offering — which includes fully-lined jersey blazers, graphic shirts, and single-strap bags — is very much within SHIRT's wheelhouse.