When looking at Japanese fashion and it’s Montezuma-sized wave of influence on the industry and trends, the past 30 years is a good place to start…after all, that’s when Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons did the unthinkable and ran perceived notions on “shape”, “silhouette”, and “construction” into the ground. It helped that they themselves were from an exotic land and all showed up at the same time to band together to push Japanese fashion forward.
This is where the “Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese fashion”, an incredible exhibit from the London Barbican Museum and now showing finally in Tokyo, kicks off. The exhibit picks up the best of the best and the best of the rest, too, to show the prowess of imagination and quality of Japanese fashion. I didn’t come to Tokyo until 2004 so I`m missing about 22 years of studying and knowledge…so I made sure to make it to the press preview for this so I could study the pieces and stories until they were soaked into my brain (…but I have a terribly selective memory T_T).
Matohu, Junya Watanabe 2009.
It is split into 4 sections, with the first one being what everyone knows and expects from an exhibit on Japanese fashion: Black Yohji, Black Comme, Black Junya, oh and some Black Matohu thrown in for good measure. Actually, Matohu conjures up sweet, earthy tones for nearly every collection…except for their “Kabukimono” collection which was darkly gothic and chic and an incredible show of range for the brand.
Next, you’re ushered into the large main room upstairs after a hallway of vintage Comme des Garcons pamphlets. This one was directed by the Brothers Quay.
その次の一番大きな面積を占める部屋に入る前に、Comme des Garconsの過去のDMがずらーりと展示されているDM。上載のディレクションを務めたのはBrothers Quay。
The second section is called “Flatness” (平面性) which is certainly such a recurring theme in Japanese fashion you’de think we were all living in 2D over here. Issey Miyake created the APOC collection which is a giant tube of knit that is laid flat and cut up into the shape of clothing..when you pull it up, it is already in the shape of 3D clothing. The beginning of seamless knitwear! Then they also had on display the recent Comme des Garcons collection that looks like clothing cut out from a coloring book. I recently stopped into the CdG store in Aoyama and many pieces are already on the racks, looking very, very awesome.
The third section, called “Innovation and Tradition” which, I am believed to think is how designers are using traditional methods in their extremely modern designs. For example Matohu (who take traditional craft like pottery and turn it into clothing techniques) and Anrealage (their amazing patchwork creations). MANY high-fashion designers here, if not ALL of them are using locally produced textiles that are not only high-tech but many are natural fibers or organically treated as well. There is a ton of innovation in textiles here.
その次の３番目のセクション。テーマは”Innovation and Tradition”、つまりは革新的なデザインの為に伝統に忠
Issey Miyake illustrated dress
Finally, my favorite section was the final one that talked about how Japanese fashion is obsessed with having stories, themes, and concepts to back up their collections. Seriously, every collection has a very distinct theme.. this was hammered into me since studying fashion here: “WHAT’S YOUR THEME?” So then we have brands like A Seed on Cloud who create each collection inspired by the work uniform of one profession, or Writtenafterwards which is extremely abstract and philosophical in it’s themes and shows. I saw a “show” by the latter that basically chose members from the audience at random, ushered those upstairs to a dark room, and had them walk down a runway with an audience of men in cotton togas and beards like “Gods”. It was like a runway of heaven. One of the most fascinating and strange things I have ever seen.
HATRA and Mikio Sakabe
Speaking of, there were a lot of videos playing of past Japanese fashion shows that really were super entertaining and innovative.. helicopters, games, dancing, etc. Ne-net and Mercibeaucoup put on good shows… as does Theatre Products and MIKIOSAKABE (DEAR STAGE idol performance a few years ago). But other than that we don’t see very interesting shows in Japan anymore. I guess that goes for the world :(
There was also a small section dedicated to anime/otaku clothing and it looked amazing. Now THAT is definitely inherent to Japan!
I was SO pleased to see some underground Japanese designers represented, like Mame, and Hatra! And some that I had NEVER heard of, like Aski Kataski, Sistere and Eatable of Many Orders.
And yo, what happened to Astro Boy?! That was a cool brand :(
Just for Tokyo Fashion Diaries readers, I have FREE tickets to go see the “Future Beauty” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo!! I have 5 pairs of tickets to give away.
そしてそしてこの展示、このTokyo Fashion Diariesを読んで下さっている皆様になんと鑑賞券を抽選で