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future beauty: barbican centre
JAM: Tokyo – (London)
Member Name: tashrsmith
JAM: Tokyo – (London)
Advantages: interesting, thought provoking, in the presence of true beauty and skill
Disadvantages: exhibtion wasn't great with the chronology of garments
Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese fashion.
The Future Beauty: 30 Years Of Japanese Fashion is the first exhibition in Europe to survey Japanese fashion from the early 1980's. The exhibition puts the extraordinary designs of Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake on an extraordinarily beautiful pedestal for the world to see.
The exhibition follows on from The Barbican's successful collaboration with Victor and Rolf in 2008. From October til February the Barbican has given fashion followers a large helping of fashion excellence from the creme de la creme of Japanese fashion designers.
The Barbican's future beauty exhibition was curated by respected fashion historian Akiko Fukai, also director of Kyoto Costume Institute. The exhibition hosts a great number of garments that have never reached UK land.
The exhibition was utterly sensational. It was neither patronizing to those unaware of the greatness that is Kawakubo, Miyake and Yamamoto, yet it gave just the right information, so that the already informed left the exhibition still enlightened.
The gallery starts of as a baron, clear white space that shows great respect towards the beautifully constructed garments. The sections on the ground floor are separated by sheer white tapestry, whilst amazingly serene music is masking the atmosphere in the background.
A main theme throughout the lower floor was that of Wabi-sabi, meaning finding beauty in imperfection. This is highlighted greatly through designers Junya Watanabe, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. The designers delved greatly into the them of garments fundamentally going against the way garments are usually perfected and went against the notion of how human beings are supposed to wear the clothing. This is exposed greatly by the abnormal folds, unfinished seams and frayed hems on individual pieces of clothing.
An amazing stand out garment was by Rei Kawakubo spring/summer 98. The garment is shown in a present like style on the floor of the gallery. When untied the present transforms into a dress, consisting of a bodice and skirt that is brought together by pleated tubes. The garment is absolutely, and also takes a while to get your head around.
Rei Kawakubo- Kawkubo's Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body collection broke all the rules and was truly a pleasure to be in the presence of such amazing garments. The pieces completely went against all manner of the human form and made the mannequins look like an exquisite version of the hunchback of Notre Dame. A stand out dress from this collection was a pink knitted sweater dress. It's embroidery was unparalleled and it exuded femininity and grace.
Issey Miyake's A-POC garment from spring/summer 89 was an amazing garment . It showed the first spark of colour in the exhibition. The garment showed a weaving process that produces fully functional, finished garments from a roll of fabric and without the need of machine sewing seams. Long tubes of double knit fabric were woven flat, so that the wearer can then remove a section of the roll of fabric by cutting along the marked lines and making an outfit.
Hiroaki Ohya's spring/summer 2000 garment was an amazing burst of colour, which was a lovely contrast from previous black and white garments. The chinese lantern style dress is an interchangeable garment that moved in a variety of ways, for example the dress was also a beautiful separates piece, which create an absolutely stunning skirt and top set.
A stand out section was that by Junya Watanabe and his new concepts of cut and styling. Beautiful music was playing in the background and you could do nothing but stare in amazement at the large projection of the waterproof garments in motion. Grey skirts with simple green lining were manipulated into waterproof wonders.
A negative part of the exhibition on a whole was the lack of chronological order throughout the garments on display. The ground floor garments can get some what confusing as there is no clear chronology between dates of shows that garments featured in. There was also a complete mixture between the designers shown in the different sections on the ground floor. You sometimes get the impression that garments are put together because they look similiar and fit with the theme and they look like they could be part of the same collection, whereas they could be made by completely different designers from a many number of years separation.
Modern Japanese Designers
In the higher levels of the Barbican Art Gallery the more modern Japanese designers garments were tucked away in the concrete alcoves. Featured here are Mintdesigns and Jun Takahashi.
Mintdesigns most definately came from left field in the exhibition. The modern Japanese were great to see juxtaposed against the greats of Miyake, Yamamoto and Kawakubo.
The exhibition highlighted greatly that the great Japanese designers were more than just black and white, flat clothing with minimalist accessories. You will leave this exhibition feeling more than enlightened.
Summary: a must visit
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