Every year, COMME des GARÇONS features a particular artist in its direct mails to clients. The recently published first issue for 2013 features manga artist Katsuhiro Otomo. The cover of the direct mail shows an illustration of the main characters Shōtarō Kaneda and Kei of Otomo’s famous manga, “AKIRA”. The illustration used was taken from the cover of volume 1 of the published manga books.
The direct mail is sent to customers of COMME des GARÇONS at the beginning of each collection season, when new stores open and when there are upcoming events. Roughly 40 issues are published annually and the concept is that when all the issues are gathered together, they become one book.
The layout design of the mails is directed by Rei Kawakubo who also selects the featured artists. She then creates collages of the artist’s works and edits the pieces by adding cuts and trims. Otomo’s manga are edited some in full color and others in black and white. The centerfold of the booklet has a picture of Neo-Tokyo, which is where the story of manga “AKIRA” takes place and the text “The Spring-Summer 2013 collections have arrived. Please come and visit” on it.
This form of direct mail began in 2008 and the first artist featured was Mondongo, followed by motion animators, the Quay Brothers, modern artist Ai Weiwei, graphic artist group assume vivid astro focus, and photographer René Burri of Magnum Photos. Otomo, who was the topic of discussion when he launched a large scale retrospective exhibition last year, is the first Japanese to be featured in the direct mail.
Works of the selected artist for the direct mail will also decorate the store displays and New Year greeting cards. In the past, collaboration items were created with the artists and this year as well, there are high expectations for exclusive projects with Otomo.