By  on December 20, 2013

Rei Kawakubo is “almost pleased” with what she sees.

Standing in the center of the Comme des Garçons New York flagship on Wednesday morning, hands on hips, she is a tiny stroke of black (but for the white swoosh on her Nike Flyknits) amid the store’s gleaming new gold interior. What she’s not is the exact manifestation of her image, which, let’s face it, is terrifying. Rather, Kawakubo is engaged with the work in a hands-on manner, and seemingly accessible to the staff. She smiles. A few days earlier, in reply to an e-mail question about her status as a design icon, she said, “I am not aware I am an icon.”

For the first time since it opened on West 22nd Street in 1999, Kawakubo has renovated the Chelsea store, recasting the formerly black-and-white fixtures and curving, sculptural partitions in gold, a hue so chosen because, according to Kawakubo’s research, when given a choice, babies gravitate toward gold.


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