1970s-1990s The Japanese Avant-garde
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: New York City
I think this thread requires input from our Japanese members. There is a lot to be learned about Japanese traditional and modern culture, Western influences, post WWII influences, and (woo, I get to throw a big, fashionalbe word!!!) the Zeitgeist. I believe that the Zeitgeist influences any artist. Indeed, it is one of the fundamental influences along with personality of an artist, and frankly, I don't think we Westerners know much about it. Without this, our view will be incomplete (although that shouldn't stop us from speculating
For now, I can only throw in a few words about the big 3 (not 4, because Mr. Takada is way too old for me to remember what Kenzo was like under him).
Yohji Yamamoto - what can I say, I respect him the most. There is an incredible force that attracts me to the wise, reserved, harmonious sage type. And you can see Yohji's personality through his clothes. And one of the things that I love about him is that he does not taut black as a color of agression, edge, or rebellion - for him it is a color of calm, mystery, harmony. As I get older (and I'm in the transitional age in which one part of me is a young radical and another part of me is a buddhist monk), I can relate to Yohji's creations more and more. He builds his clothes, like an architect. The shape and volume, the folds, the flow of fabric, the movement of the silouhette - I don't have to tell this to those who've seen the clothes in person. Now, if only he would not cut his menswear so loose!!!
Rei Kawakubo - a tireless innovator and experimenter. She is the equivalent of the modern artists of the turn of the 20th Century, who broke away from the norms prescribed by the rigid, stagnant society. Imagine the amount of courage it must've taken her to show her clothes at first? She is the definition of the avant-guarde.
Issey Miyake - I don't have much to say about him. I only paid attention to him during his last few years, and I can't say that I have found them very interesting. Maybe I was too young and did not know better? What I do love about him is his obsession with fabric innovation. I think his successor is doing a wonderful job, but that's a subject for another thread.
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