Filip Pągowski iconic red hear become the symbol for Comme des Garçons’ Play. This hastily painted metaphor of love is one of the most recognised images in the fashion industry

Designs on COMME de GARCONS

 Comme Des Garçons a/w 2000, courtesy of Filip Pągowski

Comme Des Garçons a/w 2000, courtesy of Filip Pągowski

The son of two artists, Filip Pagowski was perhaps always destined for a creative career. Pągowski graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, where he studied under his father, celebrated poster artist Henryk Tomaszewski. Meanwhile his mother was the renowned painter Terasa Pągowska.

Pągowski grew up in Poland before moving to New York in the 1980s. In 1992, Pągowski and his then wife Dovanna modelled collections in Paris by Japanese fashion house Comme des Garçons, whose designer and founder, Rei Kawakubo, preferred using artists instead of professional models for shows. Pągowski was joined on the catwalk by singer Lyle Lovett, actor John Hurt, designer Ossie Clark, painter Brice Marden and musician Jon Hassell. Kawakubo and Pągowski’s first real collaborative work began in 1999, when Kawakubo discovered Pągowski’s graphic works and invited him to design for her, forgetting he had modelled her clothing several years earlier.

For one of his earliest commissions for Comme des Garçons, Pagowksi created a modern, punk design for the label’s Fall 2000 women’s collection — the result was a somewhat casually painted assortment of lips, eyes and flowers.

In 2002 Pągowski created his iconic red heart, which would become the symbol for Comme des Garçons’ Play collections. A green version of the heart would later appear in 2006. This hastily painted symbol of love is one of the most recognised images in the fashion industry. Filip Pągowski also creates graphic designs for the label’s black range. Previous designs include floral lettering, rabbit heads, and white, red and black lips. He also creates abstract painting advertisements for Comme des Garçons.

Pągowski’s work is characterised by thick markerpen-like strokes and a deliberately casual and unfinished look. In his designs, Pągowski strives to achieve synthesis while remaining expressive; this quality can also be found in the work of Henryk Tomaszewski.

Filip Pągowski has also created graphic designs for a number of publications and fashion houses, including The New Yorker, Flaunt Magazine, Le Monde, Diane von Furstenberg and ueg.

Paulina Latham