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Future Beauty.

Everybody and their grandmother should go see Future Beauty 30 Years of Japanese Fashion. The show is a 3D rendition of all of those scraps and tears of inspiration that are stashed in our notebooks. All those sushi-shaped Pleats Please ads and Cindy Sherman CDG invitations and Jun Takahashi Melting Pot mannequins (Saty’s fave), and Mintdesigns dresses that border on Nick Cave sound suits. Right in front of your eyes, to get as close to as the little trip wire will allow.
Photos were strictly forbidden, which I still don’t understand. So I’ve drawn the above image instead, and stolen pics off the in-ter-web to give you a better idea of what you can expect. Although, if the title itself isn’t enough to get you to go to the show, we probably can’t be friends anyway.
The show is curated by designer and a (mostly) chronological order of appearance on the fashion scene. It opens with a black cable knit dress by Kawakubo that is about 20 years old, but is completely relevant now – it could easily have been made by the Margiela team or the new bloods in knitwear. The introduction of black is associated with Japanese designers, so more examples are given: a Watanabe/ Comme cocoon-y coat with gold chains, a Yohji suit with men’s trousers and a super-sexy corset, etc.
Following this are the flat clothes and early A-POC, before the tables turn and you are faced with many things gaudy and brash and delicate and wonderful by Ohya and Kurihara, and the origami-like flat fold garments by Miyake. And to end off are too many wonderful items from a newer generations of Japanese shit disturbers and non-conformists. Such as a two-faced wool blazer from Akira Naka and a dress that looks like grotty club gear on first impression, but is actually a reptile print pleated out of washi paper!
I was whispering to a friend that she should watch the Wender’s documentary on Yohji Yamamoto, when we turned the corner and it was being shown. The doc has a distinctly Japanese feel – 80′s, technology, a quiet-spoken genius in an austere uniform. This movie shaped my view of Japanese cities until Sofia Coppola came along, ha.
All in all, what I like most about the exhibit is the selfish fact that it had loads of showpieces from some of my biggest creative heros. We left with a total buzz because what we saw was evidence of things new and thrilling and beautiful about the world. Like the prickly adrenaline of first drugs, and pools of sweat on collarbones from lazy August Sundays spent with friends. Yes, it is an exhibition about clothes, and no, I am not being entirely trite – these clothes and their makers represent an optimism and bravado, a spirit to be emulated by all creative persons.

Below are images of Miyake’s 2010 folded garments; above image of Watanabe A/W 2009 is by Anthea Simms; and image of Isabella Blow in Ohya is by Mika Ninagawa.

P.S. We noticed that the majority of items presented were on loan from the The Kyoto Costume Institute – this is definitely a stop on a future Japan visit.

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