I am not here to ask Rei Kawakubo about clothes, because she no longer makes them, though this hasn’t stopped her continuing to be probably the most important fashion designer in the world. Five years ago, her Not Making Clothes catwalk show for Comme des Garçons included a model dressed in a cage of black strips of fabric and a lurid pink teddy which half-hid the wearer behind a riot of frills. Nine seasons later, she is still staging a show at every Paris fashion week, helms a business with a turnover estimated at $280m (£215m) a year, but she still insists she is not making clothes. In other words: Rei Kawakubo is as high concept as it gets.

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Vijay Nanda

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