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Japanese Fashion

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Japanese Fashion Like Japanese literature, Japanese fashion is a multidimensional space where there is a place for traditional kimonos, soft short-spoken haiku, for pro-American Murakami and jazzy trousers. Virtually all famous Japanese designers reconcile eastern and western motives in their style to provide their own interpretation of the European fashion....

Take, for instance, crisp colors and nearly brutal silhouettes of Ray Kavakubo, the founder of Comme des Garcons brand. Her collections include white, black and dark gray pieces, though Ray Kavakubo is known as a main ideologist of ‘black' trend in fashion: first demonstrated in her collections in the late 80-s, it prevailed in fashion in the 90-s. Her asymmetric cut, her imitation of ragged and torn clothes, her stripy pajama tops, brutal combat boots were copied repeatedly. Kavakubo is always ready to surprise: in her fragrances one can easily recognize scent of laundry, burnt rubber and fax toner powder, she is not afraid to use hot pink when everyone else is crying moderation; she invented miling technique, when clothes items are steamed to make them fit better.

Ray Kavakubo is a production designer. She creates collections for Н&М and handbags for Louis Vuitton, although the latter is evidently foreign to her: Comme des Garcons means «like boys» - this brand's philosophy lies in asymmetric haircuts, loose pants, prints, and structured silhouettes.

Johji Yamamoto is no less avant-garde than his fellow designer Ray: the same dramatic black, dowlas, and simple style, roughly cut necklines versus the complexity of multiple tucks, and silhouettes that when appeared were scornfully called ‘mushroom clouds'.

Yamamoto despises the style of Hollywood starlets, high-heeled shoes and fitting dresses; his woman is sharp, open, self-confident and passionate. She is not elegant in the common sense but she is extraordinary self-sufficient, independent and unique. However, Yamamoto designed costumes for stage performance of famous operas like Vagner's Tristan and Isolda, Puccini's Madame Butterfly and quite succeeded.

By the way, we know another Japanese designer named Yamamoto - Kansai. This is that very Yamamoto who was on the charts in the 70-s. He used in his work knitted fabric inspired by kabuki masks, high platform boots, and ideas of traditional Japanese theatre toggery.

In contrast, Kenzo is called ‘the most French among the Japanese designers'. A sea voyage Kenzo made in his youth inspired him to create clothes in ethnic style. He traveled on a trading ship and visited Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan. Later he worked in Paris where visited shows of such fashion icons as Dior and Cardin. Then was slow but steady rise to fame and success, and the opening of his boutique. The most iconic items by Kenzo include sweater dress with ‘kimono' sleeves (also called batwings), bright blouses and knee pants, his role in creating ‘mixed' style, involving a combination of flower prints with stripes or checks, and a romantic skirt with sport jacket. Kenzo is beyond borders: he uses Spanish shrugs, Chinese band-collared jackets, Russian fur caps, anything. Combination of different prints in one design, balloon dresses, jackets - long in the 77-th and short in the 80-s, irrational, informal and cosmopolitan style became a trademark of Kenzo. Actually, for his successful effort to reconcile the nations not in politics but on the runway the designer was honored with the Peace Award.

The delicate Hanae Mori also followed this route: cocktail and evening gowns, strict and chic, made of painted silk, nothing resembling a kimono, but full of unspoken «non-European» refinement.

Sachio Kawasaki maintains the Japanese tradition of «playing with European fashion». In his childhood he painted his uniform boots with markers and his first collection was a rave of color - painted wraps, skirts and even tights which seem to overflow and hypnotize the audience en masse.

Japanese history, culture and art are truly unique, full of self-respect, graciousness and pride... And Tokyo is really a busy megapolis - modern, impetuous, and stylish. Here, in the outfall of ancient and modern, Japanese fashion originates - to charm, fascinate and become our hearts' desire.

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