With snail mail taking up less and less space in our daily lives, it's rare for anything other than humdrum catalogues and look books to cross a fashion-industry insider's transom. Comme des Garçons, however, has elevated the direct mailer to an art form, collaborating with artists like Ai Weiwei and the Argentinian art collective Mondongo on innovative mailers, some with pop-up 3-D elements. "We asked the artists to give us the body of their work for Rei to reenvision," explains CDG president Adrian Joffe. "It involved a huge leap of faith on their part, but they have always been thrilled with the results, saying through the addition of Rei Kawakubo's work they have seen their own work in a different light."
The direct mailers' audience depends on what each one is about. According to Joffe, the audience for a small store opening might go out to 300 people, while those themed around a new season would reach 5,000. The mailers are sent to "our best customers, VIPs, museums, collectors, galleries, and friends." Click through the slideshow to see some of the highlights from these future collectors' items.