At the Seattle Art Museum is a show of the most amazing Japanese fashions. The work of some of my favorite designers were in the exhibit; Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo.
Last week I took a day to drive up and check it out.
Combining their long standing textile traditions, Western clothing and the fantastical sculptural forms of 1980’s fashion, Japanese designers created and continue to create some the most innovative and interesting designs anywhere. Anywhere!
I especially loved the designs that grew from the basic kimono idea: a flat shape draped over the 3 dimensional body.
For example, this poncho: a large rectangle of heavy felt. An added rectangle of a scarf-like piece hangs to one side creating this striking sculptural form.
Or these pieces, each of which starts with the origami shapes laid out in front. Unfolded they become the clothes behind.
Some designs were a little harder to decipher, like this knit dress.
So the museum provided photographs.
For the dress above this, here’s the flattened version. The horizontal pieces at the top are the sleeves. The wings at the sides wrap up and over the shoulders and under and between the legs.
There were so many other amazing fashions, capes from smocked plastic, gowns of thick felt, dresses with odd stuffed parts attached, skirts from shredded paper. And here and there, incorporated into the new, the never to be abandoned, gorgeous, beautiful and traditional Japanese kimono silks.
The show is on through September 8th. Only one more week! Can’t make it? Then, get the next best thing, the book.
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