For decades, at least since her Paris debut in 1981, Ms. Kawakubo has forged her own path, a durable antagonist of established norms and received wisdoms. Her line Commes des Garcons has gone into and out of favor over the years, but she has been at the forefront of important developments in fashion all along. She arrived early to ideas still potent and percolating within the fashion ecosystem: androgyny, artificiality, the pop-up shop, the luxury group (she has encouraged several former assistants, most notably Junya Watanabe, in the creation of their own separate lines under the aegis of Comme des Garçons).

“Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past forty years,” said the Costume Institute’s curator in charge, Andrew Bolton. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.”

The show will open May 4th at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.