It is the first time the gala and exhibit has focused on one living designer since 1983, when it highlighted the work of Yves Saint Laurent.
The photo sees the rapper getting to grips with the 21-year-old's bottom as he gazes at her chest.
The 74-year-old officially founded her cerebral design house in 1973 to critical acclaim - and was dubbed 'anti-fashion' for challenging the notions of beauty with her innovative aesthetic.
Comme des Garcons has been showing collections in Paris each season since 1981.
Kendall and the rapper, 28, were photographed together on Sunday doing some shopping in the Big Apple.
Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton, told AP that Kawakubo is considered the world's 'most important and influential designer' of the moment and 'has consistently defined and re-defined the aesthetics of our time.'Known for bold, experimental clothing, Kawakubo's designs have an austere aesthetic and a cult following.