The story of Japanese fashion is both brief and extraordinary and has challenged Western notions of fashion and aesthetics.
The Cutting Edge examines this story and looks at the work of 19 designers. It includes pioneers Hanae Mori, Kenzo Takada and the ‘big 3’ – Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garcons), Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto; and the exciting work of a new generation of designers led by Junya Watanabe and Jun Takahashi and others little known outside Japanese fashion and art circles.
The work of the new generation designers reveals technical ingenuity such as Hiroaki Ohya’s Wizard of Jeanz ready-to-wear collection which is bought in the form of books, Shinichiro Arakawa’s series of garments that start life framed like paintings, and Aya Tsukioka’s wrap skirt which becomes a vending machine. And recycling and comments on contemporary society feature in the work of Nozomi Ishiguro, Masahiro Nakagawa and Kosuke Tsumura.
The first section includes illustrated essays by Louise Mitchell, Akiko Fukai and Bonnie English which look at the rise of Japanese fashion (non-existent before WWII), the influence of Japan’s textile tradition and advanced technology, the development of a new fashion aesthetic and the impact on Western fashion, and Japanese fashion as art. The second section provides information on and work by each of the designers.
Published in association with the Kyoto Costume Institute and The Cutting Edge: Fashion from Japan exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum 27 September 2005 – 29 January 2006.