Sunday, October 24, 2010

Japan Fashion Now! Pow!


So this is a long over-due post on the Japanese fashion exhibition that’s being held in FIT until January 8th. Went about three weeks ago with Babz and Libby and have been meaning to blog about it a lot earlier than now but at least it's better late than never! With my neighbour singing Lionel Ritchie’s All Night Long at the top of his lungs I can’t think of a more perfect time to blog. Oh New York you random place you! For those who don’t know (which I imagine is very few), FIT is a huge fashion school in New York, and I mean huge. I pass by it every morning on my way to work and it easily covers three-four blocks. -Oh to have a few hundred grand in the bank and I’d be on my way…sigh. It’s not a huge exhibition space but big enough to make you get a good sense of all the major Japanese designers that have turned Japan into a creative mecca.

The first section is the introductory gallery; a clean cut, laboratory style setting where work from Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo and Commes De Garcon (..haawww) displayed such acclaimed pieces like the rubber bodice by Rei Kawakubu and the deconstructed denim dress by Junya Wantanabe for Commes De Garcon- to name a few. While I browsed through the gallery, it was only a few hours later I thought -Jesus, that was surreal. I wrote my thesis on these designers!!

(Let's just have a moment and appreciate Yamamoto.)

The main gallery is more of a step into Japanese street style and sub-culture movements that have been made famous today by Gwen Stefani's harajuku girls and Katy Perry&Lady Gaga love of Hello Kitty. One side dedicated to the ultra-trend setting Japanese designers of today; Loved the menswear section of the main gallery! Tokyo is more risk-taking in the menswear stakes, hence a good place to be if you were a menswear designer. (Totally want the A/W 2010-11 Phenomen jacket all for myself.)

The other side of the space reflects on the subcultural movements in Harajuku and Shibuya who literally take fashion to another level. Treated like (an almost competitive?) form of dress-up within cultural groupings such as Lolita, Angelic Pretty, Baby etc. (One would be forgiven to mistake the outfits for the children costume section in Toys r Us) Needless to say all of this effort has not gone unnoticed in the western world, inspiring heavyweights like Jean Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs- just to name two.

One of my fav parts of the exhibition is by Jun Takahashi S/S collection; the skull manipulation in three pieces were constructed in such an elegant and sophisticated way. The 3D skull dress especially. It took me a minute to realise that in fact it was skulls, made in a silk patent I think? Another highlight is the googly eye dress -so ridiculously cool! Tongue-in-cheek fashion projected at the highest quality of construction and innovation. Yowzas. But I can't find a picture! eek.
Jun Takahashi S/S 2007

Annnyway it’s a definite recommendation! It won’t take you longer than an hour to have a proper look and appreciate the craftsmanship of these innovative designers on display. I, myself, found it really inspiring, just to see the fabrics up close, the construction of each piece and the fabric manipulation/embellishments of each look. –These are designers I would have referenced throughout college for their innate ability to capture innovation so effortlessly. Loved. A lot.

(All photos from google. Apologies for the size, flickr and I will be friends again soon.)

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