Japanese Fashion Exhibition at the Barbican

Topics: Junya Watanabe, Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons Pages: 4 (1366 words) Published: February 23, 2011
The Kyoto Costume Institute is the foremost collection of Japanese fashion in the world. Unfortunately, it is not open to the public; however every four or five years they seek out partnerships, to create exhibitions, so the world can see the treasures that it holds. This time, after witnessing the success of the Viktor and Rolf exhibition at the Barbican, London, in 2008; the Kyoto Costume Institute approached the Barbican to create an exhibition that celebrates Japanese fashion over the last thirty years. Therefore creating the first exhibition of its kind in Europe. Akiko Fukai curates the exhibition, as a fashion historian and the director of the Kyoto Costume Institute. My own experiences of Japanese fashion have been very limited in the past; and I hadn’t given what I had experienced a second thought. Harajuku girl style clothing had no appeal in my opinion, and for the rest of Japanese street style, it was either too much of everything, or incredibly bland. So as you could imagine, my expectations of this exhibition were not high, in fact I would go as far to say that I was dragging my feet the whole way. Upon my arrival, I was astonished to see no multicoloured, anime style hair. No barely-there transparent, netted pom-pom style skirts. Instead, white pristine fabric draped from the ceiling encasing each mannequin, creating a clean, calm, rich atmosphere demonstrating the mature, professional, sincere nature of each design. The exhibition winds its way through many rooms and two floors of Japanese high fashion, arranged thematically, highlighting the work of three hugely influential designers; Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. The first section of the exhibition is titled: ‘In praise of shadows’. It features designs from Kawakubo for Comme Des Garcons and Yamamoto, dating back to the 1980s. A time where designers like Thierry Mugler were dominating fashion, promoting a very structured, fitted style of clothing. The work of these...
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