The Costume Institute's spring exhibition and its Benefit Gala is one of the world’s most important fashion events. For 2017, the show will focus on Rei Kawakubo and her brand Comme des Garçons (on view from May 4 through September 4), a theme that is particularly closed to my heart. When I was in my early 20s, newcomer to New York City, it was Kawakubo’s fashion, that I not only loved wearing, but that I also found most inspiring in my journey in the world of design. Entering her SoHo boutique on Greene Street was always an experience that made me thinking differently about design, exploring the intellectual side of creativity, the notion of the timeless, the Japanese aesthetics, the love for colorless fashion, which I began developing at that time, rethinking fashion. It was what I considered NYC’s temple of design, and it was in the 80s, and long before the neighborhood was transformed from the hub of the art world into a trendy fashion destination. Because Kawakubo is an artist whose works challenges conventional notions of beauty, taste, and fashion, blurring art and dress, and she had done it long before Alexander McQueen. This retrospective will be the Costume Institute's first monographic show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983; it will open shortly before the designer will celebrate her 85th birthday, celebrating a magnificent career as one of the most important and influential designers in our age.