After the fashion design class 'Everyday shape', I was really curious about fashion designers whose design shape is structure and experimental. At library, I found the book 'Radical Fashion'. It was about radical fashion designers and their works such as Azzedine Alaia, Hussein Chalayan, Jean Paul Gaultier and so on. I was fascinated by Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto, Kawakubo Rei, Issey Miyake and Junya watanabe. Their radical shape and unlimited boundary of thinking fashion excited me.So I started research about them.
Autumn / Winter 1998-99
"I try to make clothes that are new, that didn't exist before, and hope that people get energy and feel positive when they wear them. I believe that creativity is an essential part of life."
Puntctured with seemingly random holes, the hand-knitted garment is a challenge to the flawless perfection of machine knitting. Japanese culture embraces imperfection as a measure of perfection within creativity.
Comme des Garçons SS15
A seasoned traveller himself, Yamamoto's designs are imbued with international references.
He uses kimonosilks and oriental prints ; was inspired by African nomads (s/s 1982) ; Russian dolls (a/w 1990-91) and for a/w 2000-2001 created urban, fairy-tale cloaks with fur-lined hoods inspired by Inuit dress.
Often described as a purist, Yamamoto is also a humorist, who gently mocks the fashion system. For the finale of his March 1998 show, he sent supermodel Jodie Kidd down the catwalk and muslin hat so large four attendants bearing poles were required to support it.
The designer said he was playing up to mass-market perceptions that fashion was extravagant and stupid. As well as selecting exceptional beauties, Yamamoto caused a stir when he first employed unconventional, mature and 'ordinary' looking models.
i-D,The Manhood Issue, No.296, Feb 2009
Your collection was very calm this season, almost meditative. What was the inspiration behind it?
Light and shade,love and violence, Eros and death. They seem to be opposites, but are actually very closse. If light became weaker then shade would be weaker too. This describes how I currently feel about Japan. It's been developed to get rid of the shade, and ended up being neutral and sluggish. The light and dark side have always supported each other.
In what way?
Eros and death are extraordinary close, so the collection should not be understood in words such as 'calm' and 'meditative'. Although it's a generality, I wanted to show sadness can be sexy, and there was such meaning behind it. After all, showing shade is to show light at the same time.
Kawakubo Rei is an untrained fashion designer, but studied fine arts and literature at Keio University. After graduation, Kawakubo worked in a textile company and began working as a freelance stylist in 1967.
In 1973, she established her own company, Comme des Garçons Co. Ltd in Tokyo and opened up her first boutique in Tokyo in 1975. Starting out with women's clothes, Kawakubo added a men's line in 1978. Three years later, she started presenting her fashion lines in Paris each season, opening up a boutique in Paris in 1982.
Comme des Garçons specialises in anti-fashion, austere, sometimes deconstructed garments. During the 1980s, her garments were primarily in black, dark grey or white. The materials were often draped around the body and featured frayed, unfinished edges along with holes and a general asymmetrical shape. Challenging the established notions of beauty she created an uproar at her debut Paris fashion show where journalists labeled her clothes 'Hiroshima chic' amongst other things. Since the late 1980s, her colour palette has grown somewhat.
Rei likes to have input in all the various aspects of her business, rather than just focusing on clothes and accessories. She is greatly involved in graphic design, advertising, and shop interiors believing that all these things are a part of one vision and are inextricably linked. Her Aoyama, Tokyo store is known for its sloping glass facade decorated with blue dots. This was designed in collaboration between Rei and architect Future Systems and interior designer Takao Kawasaki. Rei published her own bi-annual magazine, 'Six' (standing for 'sixth sense'), in the early 1990s. It featured very little text and consisted mainly of photographs and images that she deemed inspiring. In 1996 Rei was guest editor of the high art publication Visionaire.
Rei is known to be quite reclusive and media shy, preferring her innovative creations to speak for themselves. According to Women's Wear Daily, she is a fashion icon but, during an interview, she said she does not think of herself as an icon. Her designs have inspired many other late designers like the Belgian Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeestr, as well as Austrian designer Helmut Lang.
Junya Watanabe, Kawakubo's former apprentice, started his own line in the early 1990s and has attained much attention in the fashion business in his own right.
"Fashion's Purest Visionary: Rei Kawakubo" The NY Times T Style Magazine Holiday 2013 Photographer: Paolo Roversi
Comme des Garcons Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2015 Paris
Rei Kawakubo is seeing red. Arguably the most potent hue on the color wheel, the designer followed the crimson call and drenched her Comme des Garçons spring/summer 2015 collection in the bold shade.
Love, danger, life and death, are all fundamentally connected to this color. And the designer played up on all of those associations in her show.
She started off with a romantic ensemble crafted out of whirls of red fabric flowers strung along thick fringing. Also sweet was an oversized coat built out of impressive layers of ruffled textiles and another coat constructed from bands of fabric held in place by a vertical strip of cloth (think sartorial Venetian blinds).
More sinister offerings included a white based tubular outfit splattered with so much of the sanguine shade that little of its original purity could be perceived. Disturbing too was one oversized black hood worn with a red dress crafted from hanging bands of fabric. It came on the heels of another hooded outfit that looked like a charming take on Red Riding Hood. The same hood in a different shade and the emotional reaction is instantly and radically different.
Comme des Garçons 1982 V
Kawakubo issued the statement, 'body becomes dress becomes body', evocative of Blaise Cendrars poem for fine artist Sonia Delaunay's 'simultaneous contrast' dresses of 1913 :
Anything that is a bump pushes into the depths.
Stars dig into the sky
Colours undress you through contrast
'On her dress she wears a body'