Her “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body” collection (spring/summer 1997) is an out-an-out subversion of the fashion industry’s vision of the ideal female body: small waist, slim hips, pert behind, flat stomach, and small, high breasts.
Against this she offers tight-fitting dresses padded here and there with goose down to create bulbous outgrowths. One crimson wrap dress devoid of armholes encases the wearer like a cocoon. It features a pregnant belly-like form jutting off-center and traveling up the right side of the body to merge with a tumid shoulder.
Another dress, in gray and white gingham, swells only at the right hip. While such dysmorphia is clearly exaggerated, even grotesque, so too are the dictates of beauty and femininity that have been trafficked to women across time and much of the world.
With all of her collections, and especially her most outrageous and unwearable, Kawakubo is making statements that, if truly absorbed, would help make the world a more tolerant place for everyone—no matter their gender or how they may define themselves.