In the early 80's Rei Kawakubo stated that she had felt “dissatisfied” with what she was designing. “I felt I should be doing something more directional, more powerful .. I decided to start from zero, from nothing, to do things that have not been done before, things with a strong image.”

Kawakubo is constantly rethinking, deconstructing, and restructuring our ideas about fashion, including the gendered norms and codes of the clothes we wear and accept as feminine or masculine. Comme des Garçons underwent a noticeable evolution throughout the 1990's towards risky presentations of clothes that looked less and less commercially viable. 

By the time we arrive at Fall 2001’s “Beyond Taboo”, Kawakubo had created Spring 1997’s notorious Lumps and Bumps collection (actual title: “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body”) which padded the body in unexpected places instead of exaggerating the usual sexualized sites (the bust, the hips, the rear).

Comme Des Garcons 1997 Runway

Spring 1995’s “Transcending Gender” explored ideas about suiting–-the lapels of a tailored jacket become halter top straps, a pouf dress emerges from the hem of a shirt, and skirts are worn over trousers. Fall 1995’s “Sweeter Than Sweet” twists classically feminine tropes like tulle gowns, smocks, slips, floral prints and embroidery.

Comme Des Garcons 1995 Runway

“Beyond Taboo” revisited and merged those themes with an added element of sex and the forbidden. The flasher's slick black trench morphs into a lace-trimmed red slip, sleazy synthetic satin and printed pleather are shown throughout, nylon tulle slips fall off shoulders and deconstructed longline corsets are worn half-open, at times exposing swathes of skin. But Kawakubo also has a sense of humour and rebelliousness about the conventions of sexiness–-she’s playfully coy with sheer cut-outs that reveal unlikely erogenous zones (knees), bloomers are worn on the outside, and bullet brassieres are strapped onto derrieres.

Comme Des Garcons Fall 2001 Beyond Taboo Runway

Fashion critic Cathy Horyn wrote “[Kawakubo] has used the skills of her pattern-makers in Tokyo to attack and explore a variety of human conditions, including randomness, unreality, our literal and metaphorical burdens, and our complex ideas about eroticism and beauty. She makes us see these things in her fashion.”

At the time “Beyond Taboo” was in-step with avant-garde designers’ explorations of deconstructed tailoring, subverted innerwear-as-outerwear, cheeky references to fetish gear, and hybridized garments. Twenty to thirty years on, these ideas have become part of the code and are widely seen in both niche and mainstream fashion.

Shop Comme Des Garcons FW 2001 “Beyond Taboo” tunic.

Shop Comme Des Garcons FW 2001 “Beyond Taboo” jacket.

Shop all Comme Des Garcons at VSP.

Shop the Avant Garde Collection at VSP.



Styling and Text - Jaime Sin @jaime_sin

Photography - Sam Pierre @itssassysam

Model - Kaya Phillips 

Retoucher - Alex Knabenschuh 


Condition Chart

Condition Chart

VSP Consignment's collection is hand-selected by our stylists to include pieces that are masterfully crafted, versatile, and contemporary. Although many of our pieces are pre-owned, we strive to collect items of excellent condition but on occasion, there may be slight signs of wear. On pieces which do not include the size and fabric tag, we make an educated guess to the best of our ability and it is noted in the description. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding an item you are interested in.

NWT | New with Tags

Item has original sales tags attached and/or packaging and has never been worn.


This item is pre-owned; no visible flaws have been found.

Very Good

This item is pre-owned with minor signs of natural wear and tear. These will be noted in the condition description. May include but not limited to signs of laundering/dry cleaning.


This item is pre-owned with multiple flaws and/or signs of wear. These will be noted in the condition description. May included but not limited to, signs of abrasion, pilling, and tears on seams. Flaws are most likely repairable or already repairs. Still wearable with care.


This indicates that the item is a collectible circa twenty years or prior. Natural distressing, if any, is characteristic to the beauty of use. It is still in good condition for an item from a previous time. Any specific flaws will be noted on individual listings.

As Is

If a piece is marked “As Is” its condition has been taken into account when determining its value and price adjustments will not be made. All flaws will be listed under each item’s description. Items marked “As Is” are final sale.


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