When I think of fashion and couture, I think of Paris and NYC. I think of Tim Gunn and Project Runway. I think of Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire. I don't think of Japan and yet, the most influential fashion designer in the world today is Japanese.
There is a dress made with 20 layers of muslin draped into folds that form ruffles. There is a dress that folds flat but when lifted up forms an accordion-like sculpture that flares out and looks stiff, as if made from paper using orgami. The word that comes to mind is ethereal. I learned that a kimono is 6 yards of silk--2 yards for the front, 2 yards for the back, and 2 yards for the sleeves. There is a plastic coat with 44 pockets filled with flowers. The stiff dresses that form ruffles make me wonder if they use the stabilizer sold at Joann Fabrics that helps to make hats stiff. One dress is made out of circles of fabric. One dress has intricate holes cut out all over the fabric. At the entrance of an exhibit was a black dress with gold chains sewn as design elements throughout the dress. We sell these gold chains by the yard at Joann Fabrics. One of the five designers featured in the exhibit designed using three shades of black.
The designers in the show have a distaste for heels, makeup, and for the most part, tight fighting garments. One design, which was a glittered skin suit worn by Lady Gaga was an exception. Models wear Doc Martens or go bare foot on the runway in Japan. One video showed a fashion show with rain coming down on the runway models.
This is a must-see exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. I want to go again and again. I only scratched the surface.
Who is the world's most influential designer today? Rei Kawakubo. She "creates for women who don't care what husband's think." She didn't go to fashion school. She creates. She considers herself a business woman, not an artist.
One room in the exhibit shows "cool Japan" with young clothing like the designs seen in Seattle and Portland earlier this year at Sakuracon and Kumoricon.
Become a member of the Seattle Art Museum. You will need to go at least a couple of times to see this show so you had better just become a member and save money because there is so much to see with more great exhibits coming.