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Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion

Seattle Art Museum
Seattle WA – Jun 27-Sep 8, 2013

Issey Miyake (Naoki Takizawa) and Aya Takano/Kaikai Kiki

Issey Miyake (Naoki Takizawa) and Aya Takano/Kaikai Kiki, Autumn/Winter 2004 Collection [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jun 27-Sep 8] Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, Gift of Issey Miyake Inc.

Yohji Yamamoto

Yohji Yamamoto, Spring/Summer 1983 [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jun 27-Sep 8] Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, Gift of Ms. Sumiyo Koyama, photo by Taishi Hirokawa

Mintdesigns/ Hokuto Katsui and Nao Yagi

Mintdesigns/ Hokuto Katsui and Nao Yagi, Autumn/Winter 2008 [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jun 27-Sep 8] Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, Gift of Mintdesigns Inc., photo by Taishi Hirokawa

Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons, Autumn/Winter 2000 [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jun 27-Sep 8] Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, photo by Takashi Hatakeyama
Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons, Autumn/Winter 2000 [Seattle Art Museum, Seattle WA, Jun 27-Sep 8] Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, photo by Takashi Hatakeyama

Drawn from the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute in Japan, Future Beauty is a stunning exhibit highlighting keystone pieces of fashion history by Japanese innovators over the last three decades. The impressive exhibit includes over 100 garments, most of which function more as art over utility.

Visionary designers Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, and Yohji Yamamoto first made their mark on the western industry in the early 1980s, challenging established notions of beauty and redefining the very basis of fashion. At a seminal 1983 Paris fashion show, Kawakubo, founder of the label Comme des Garçons, and Yamamoto presented stark monochromatic designs with asymmetrical and deconstructive qualities that were the antithesis of the current aesthetic. Their work gained immediate recognition.

This first US exhibition to comprehensively survey avant-garde Japanese fashion includes many pieces by these early innovators, as well as works by the acclaimed Jun Takahashi and several edgy new-generation designers such as Tao Kurihara.

The exhibit identifies themes among designers, grouping pieces on the basis of shared material and conceptual principles. The four sections – In Praise of Shadows, Flatness, Tradition and Innovation and Cool Japan – loosely chronicle blossoming developments among designers, from the minimal black-and-white aesthetics first presented to European audiences in the early 1980s to the radical reinvention of kimonos and origami techniques into modern designs, and the sensational blending of street style, pop culture and high fashion.

Allyn Cantor


 Thu, Jun 6, 2013