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Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion

Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion

Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion
Photo by Lyndon Douglas, courtesy of The Barbican Centre.
By João Paulo NUNES

[London], November 17, 2011 - Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion, on at the Barbican Art Gallery in London until 6 February 2011, is the first exhibition in Europe to comprehensively survey avant-garde Japanese fashion, from the early 1980s to now. And what an exquisite treat it is!

Curated by the Japanese fashion historian Akiko Fukai, Director, the Kyoto Costume Institute (KCI), and designed by architect Sou Fujimoto, with sound installation by Janek Schaefer, the exhibition explores the distinctive sensibility of Japanese design and its sense of beauty embodied in clothing. Bringing together over 100 garments from the last three decades - many rarely lent by KCI, some never seen before in the UK, which makes a trip to see it even more imperative - the exhibition also includes films of runway shows and documentaries by the likes of Wim Wenders.

The exhibition layout, with the vast gallery spaces of the Barbican's main gallery divided by huge swathes of white gauze, brings a seductive approach to the brutalist architectural background, while exploring the work of Japanese fashion designers in relation to the art, culture and costume history of their country.

It is undeniable that Japanese designers made an enormous impact on world couture in the late twentieth century. Visionaries such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto redefined the very basis of fashion, challenged established Western notions of beauty, and turned fashion very firmly into art.





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