The company features its main collections during
Paris Fashion Week and Paris Men's Fashion Week. In 2017, it was reported that the company and its affiliates generated a revenue "of over $280 million a year".
The label was started in
Rei Kawakubo in 1969 and established as a company in 1973. It is written in Japanese as コム・デ・ギャルソン (Komu de Gyaruson). The name translates as "like boys" in French. The brand's name was inspired by
Françoise Hardy's 1962 song "
Tous les garçons et les filles", particularly from the line "Comme les garçons et les filles de mon âge." The brand became successful in Japan in the 1970s and a
menswear line was added in 1978. In 1981, the company had a
debut show in Paris. Kawakubo's heavy use of black distressed
fabrics, and unfinished
seams were viewed negatively by French critics.
Throughout the 1980s, its clothes often were associated with a distressed and
punk-oriented style. In 1982, Kawakubo's collection "Destroy" was heavily criticised. Women's Wear Daily called it the "Hiroshima bag lady look", and the Associated Press proclaimed Kawakubo the "high priestess of the Jap wrap". Unusual styles continued through the 1990s, many of which were disliked by experts.
In 2004, the company split its business into handmade
garments produced in France, and non-handmade garments in Japan,
Turkey. The product line Play, the most recognizable and mainstream Comme des Garçons casual luxury line, is largely produced in Japan, Spain, and Turkey, while some of its products are also made in France.
Comme des Garçons lines
Designed by Rei Kawakubo
Comme des Garçons – main womenswear line (since 1969)
Comme des Garçons Noir – black-dominated womenswear collection (since 1987)
Comme des Garçons Comme Des Garçons – (also referred to as 'Comme Comme') womenswear (since 1993)
Comme des Garçons Homme Plus – main menswear line (since 1984)
Comme des Garçons Homme Plus Sport – sport wear oriented subline of Homme Plus
Comme des Garçons Homme Plus Evergreen – subline of Homme Plus, re-invented items from past collections (since 2005)
Comme des Garçons Homme Deux – formal tailored menswear (since 1987)
Comme des Garçons Shirt – collection featuring mostly shirts (since 1988)
Comme des Garçons Shirt Girl
Comme des Garçons Shirt Boy (since 2014, discontinued 2019)
Comme des Garçons Girl (since 2015)
Play Comme des Garçons – casual streetwear for younger men and women, featuring a bug-eyed logo (collaboration with
New York City graphic artist Filip Pagowski)
BLACK Comme des Garçons –
unisex, lower-priced line, initially started due to the recession in 2008. Many products from this line were sold in
Comme des Garçons Homme – menswear Japanese line (since 1978)
Comme des Garçons Robe de Chambre – womenswear Japanese line (discontinued)
Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons – womenswear (since 1992)
Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons Man – menswear (since 2001)
Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons Man Pink – menswear items for women (discontinued)
Designed by Tao Kurihara
Tao Comme des Garçons – womenswear (launched 2005, discontinued after spring 2011)
Tricot Comme des Garçons – womenswear knits
Designed by Fumito Ganryu
Ganryu Comme des Garçons –
asexual street style label, Ganryu was a former pattern-maker at Junya
Designed by Kei Ninomiya
Noir Kei Ninomiya – womenswear (launched in 2013), Ninomiya was a former pattern-maker at CdG
Comme des Garçons Edited – special items for Edited shops in Japan
Comme des Garçons Pearl – jewelry (since 2006)
Comme des Garçons Parfum – (since 1994)
Comme des Garçons Parfum Parfum
Comme des Garçons Wallet
Speedo Comme des Garçons – swimwear collaboration (since 2005)
Hammerthor Comme des Garçons Shirt – underwear collaboration (since 2007)
Comme des Garçons Peggy Moffitt
Comme des Garçons Six – bi-annual magazine (from 1988 to 1991)
The company also produces a line of
agenderedfragrances, most of which are unconventional in the world of perfume and aligned with the styles of its garments.
The company released its first fragrance, Comme des Garçons, in 1994 and its first anti-perfumeOdeur 53 in 1998. The anti-perfume features a blend of 53 non-traditional scents which is rarely heard if in many other fragrance brands.
Adrian Joffe, the founder's husband and the CEO of the company, set up two companies. Comme des Garçons Parfums is for licensing some of the perfumes to
Puig from 2002 and Comme des Garçons Parfums for selling the rest by its own.
The company developed a unisex fragrance, G I R L, and released it on August 28, 2014. Artist
KAWS designed the bottle.
In 2017, the company launched a new fragrance, Concrete and marked its launch in the US with a dinner curated by the artist and chef,
Its collections are designed in the studio in Aoyama, Tokyo, and manufactured in Japan, France, Spain, and Turkey. Over the years, the company has recurrently associated itself with the
cultural projects internationally. The 1997 spring-summer collection, often referred to as the lumps and bumps collection, which contained fabric in bulk and balls on the garments, led to a collaboration, also in 1997, between Rei Kawakubo and New York-based
choreographerMerce Cunningham called Scenario. The 2006 autumn/winter collection dealt with the concept of the persona, the different ways to present one's self to the world. Fusing tailored menswear with
feminine elements such as
flower printed dress fabrics, Persona was another collection that combined the feminine with the
Junya Watanabe and, as of recently, Tao Kurihara have started their own sub-labels under the label. Both also were involved in designing for the casual women's
knitwear line Tricot.
Comme des Garçons dress
The company have collaborated with various other labels over the years such as Hammerthor,H&M. and Stüssy.
In other media,
Björk wore the label in the music video for Isobel. Frank Ocean named a song after the company.John Waters devoted a chapter of his 2010 book Role Models to the label and founder. Swedish musician
Jonna Lee collaborated with the company in the creation of her audiovisual album Everyone Afraid to Be Forgotten, where the fashion house designed the costumes for the film.
1995: 'Auschwitz' Fashions
The 1995 "Sleep" collection consisted of striped pajamas "bearing prints of identification numbers and marks of military boot prints". Contemporaneous media coverage juxtaposed images of the collection with images taken at
Auschwitz concentration camp, and the controversy received international coverage. The
World Jewish Congress condemned the collection, and fashion critic
Suzy Menkes called the collection "'Auschwitz' fashions". Kawakubo responded that the collection had been "completely misunderstood" and the controversy made her "very sad".
In January 2020, a predominantly white group of models wore
cornrowedlace-front wigs in the fall 2020 menswear show. This was seen as the
appropriation of Black culture, particularly with the use of traditionally Black hairstyles on non-Black models. Stylist Julien d'Ys responded on Instagram, "Dear all, my inspiration for the Comme Des Garçons show was Egyptian prince, A Look I found truly beautiful and inspirational. A look that was an hommage. Never was it my intention to hurt or offend anyone, ever. If I did I deeply apologize."
In December 2009, the company opened a 4,400 square feet (410 m2) store in
Hong Kong called Under The Ground. Hong Kong also had a guerrilla store opened and closed in previous years, run by Silly Thing Hong Kong. In March 2012, it opened a store in
Manila. Also, the first Dover Street Market in Japan opened in
Ginza. In December 2013,
Dover Street Market in New York City opened. In 2021, the company reintroduced its "Guerilla" stores, pioneering temporary boutiques that predated the pop-up shop movement by a good decade or so.