Comme des GarçonsTakashi Hatakeyama

The revolutionary world of Japanese fashion is centre stage at one of the most recognized museums in America. Showcasing garments, films and conceptual visions, “Future of Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion” showcases the work of Japan’s most avant-garde and inspirational designers.

Capturing the early creative styles of the 1980s, this exhibition describes the rite of passage in Japanese fashion up to present day. Including the work of principal figures – Issey Misake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakube – it is obvious how essential these three designers have been in redefining Japanese style.

Comme des Garçons (Rei Kawakubo), Autumn/Winter 1995Takashi HatakeyamaExamples of more recent and contemporary fashion also feature in the show. Cool Japan designers like Tao Kurihara, Naoki Takizawa and Jun Takahashi leave an indelible mark, arising out of the influence and aesthetic aspirations of Tokyo's street culture. 

Future of Beauty:

30 Years of Japanese Fashion is an exhibition that firmly acknowledges the major breakthroughs that have occurred within Japanese high fashion. Segmenting the show according to the nuances of transition and deconstructive change, the importance of traditional Japanese clothing and techniques is never left aside. Glimpses of origami and kimonos, alongside themes of shadow and geometry, flatness and minimalism, give Japanese fashion its sense of truth and originality. 

Junya Watanabe Comme des GarçonsTakashi HatakeyamaIn its wholeness, Future of Beauty examines the evolution of Japanese design, as we know it. Unlike other fashion capitals, Japan has never tailored itself to suit mainstream ideals. The stylistic features of Japanese clothing design are dramatic and distinct, with cuts, lines, fabrics and curves formidable and incomparable to classic French and Italian haute couture.

At its essence, Japanese design is formulated with futuristic intent and nothing less. Rigid and refined, the quest of Japanese fashion can be found, at once, in its stark simplicity and deceiving complexity. Without a trace of popularized glamour or outright indulgence, Japanese garment design is alive and natural, unburdened by the rules of western tradition.

Yohji Yamamoto (Yohji Yamamoto), Autumn/Winter 1996Takashi HatakeyamaFuture of Beauty:

30 Years of Japanese Fashion is curated by Akiko Fukai, a significant Japanese fashion historian and Director/Chief Curator of the Kyoto Costume Institute (KCI). Running through September 8 this exhibition is housed at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and is destined to be the key event to visit this season.