Comme des Garçons – More Than Just a Heart with Eyes

I first became aware of the Comme des Garçons by seeing the heart-shaped logo popping up everywhere in Thailand. As a kid, my perception of it then was merely a fashion label for wealthy families who enjoy minimal fashion staples.

For over a decade, my awareness of the brand was just that; a prestigious clothing label with a heart and eyes graphic.

Fast forward to December 2022, I received an invitation to Comme des Garçons Melbourne’s 10th-anniversary party. I immediately recalled the brand simply for its iconic symbol. That recognition was followed by my existing perception from childhood, which evolved as I discovered some interesting facts about Comme des Garçons and its heart.

The Comme des Garçons Empire

Comme des Garçons (CdG) – a french name that translates to “like the boys” that is, in fact, a Japanese brand! The founder, Rei Kawakubo, established the label in 1969 in Paris with no formal fashion training but pure passion. The brand was an instant hype in Japan. Kawakubo’s work through CdG has always been known for its avant-garde and inventiveness making the brand framework noncommercial and exclusive. CdG represents imagination and creativity in fashion.

But those unfamiliar with the fashion brand and its world, like me, would only associate its identity with its mainstream label, PLAY.

The Heart of PLAY

The iconic graphic was designed by Polish artist Filip Pagowski and was launched as a logo for the CdG PLAY line in 2002. In an interview, Filip Pagowski explained, “I remember working on something… not connected to anything. I got this idea of a red heart with a set of eyes. I drew it instantaneously, and the first draft was it. I submitted it for another CDG project, for which it never made it, but eventually, it resurfaced, making bigger waves as a logo for the PLAY line.”

CDG describes its iconic logo as “a sign, a symbol, a feeling”.

Although PLAY was launched as a casual and playful streetwear for younger men and women with their most entry-level prices, which received controversial views from CdG traditionalists, PLAY became a movement – a cultural cult.

The simple colour palette and style creatively embedded with Pagowski’s design in various ways. Accessible and making a great style statement, PLAY became the CdG mainstream label.

The house of CdG simultaneously has a runway collection while also having multiple in-house brands that they oversee. Reportedly, PLAY is CdG’s most lucrative label, accounting for more than 12 per cent of the company’s revenue.

It’s no surprise to me as I have seen the logo being collaborated with many brands like Converse All Star, H&M, and Nike. PLAY is seasonless. It never goes on sale or gets marketed down.

The Love Worldwide

They are very selective with their global distribution and avoid overexposure overall. But they didn’t need to. They got a cult following that represents its culture and spreads the love for PLAY all around the world. It feels like a subtle invitation that invokes a strong association with the brand.

This is also true for Melbourne’s boutique store. Located at 13 Somerset Place, formerly an art gallery, the store has a sense of rawness yet is carefully curated with great attention. Although it is in the heart of Melbourne CBD, it’s slightly off the beaten track and generally discovered by word of mouth. My journey to their event really exhibited a sense of cultural exclusivity for me.

More Than Just a Heart with Eyes

It is impressive to me how they accurately communicated the brand’s image with a simple heart drawing to the 10-year-old me. But it’s not just that which makes it work. The years of the creative process, the strong framework and philosophy of CdG, the multitudes of other collections built like a family network, and the combination of talents with artists and brands – are what make PLAY the gateway for CdG’s most recognisable and timeless success.

More than just a heart shape with eyes, it’s a distinctive statement of art that will continue to make waves for many generations to come.

Minnie Phinkosol

Minnie Phinkosol

Glamorazzi’s marketing assistant, preferred photographer and content contributor based in Melbourne, Australia.

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