Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Japan Fashion Now at MFIT

Japan Fashion Now at the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology
by Jill Lynne

I had long-awaited this exhibition – “Japan Fashion Now." And YES!; Because of the curatorial expertise of the erudite and savvy, Dr. Valerie Steele, this important show is even more fascinating than anticipated.

The exhibition chronicles modern, radically creative Japanese fashion. “Japan continues to be the cutting-edge – maybe even the bleeding edge – of fashion," declares Steele. This collection encompasses the cerebral, avant-garde aesthetic associated with the first wave of 1980’s Japanese design, and a range of youthful street-styles such as Gothic Punk, Lolita, and Forrest Girl.
Curator FIT Japan Fashion Now, Valerie Steele. Christina Ewald and Fritz Donnelly from "Hi Christina."
Jonathan Marder. Eleanora Kennedy and daughter, Anna Safir.
Vice-Chair Liz Peek and FIT Board Trustee Beverly S. Mack. Roddy Caravella and Gretchen Feinston.
Brilliantly presented against a silver-gray-toned photo-backdrop of the five main districts in Tokyo, intriguingly clad mannequins, with supplemental videos, portray the varying styles inspired by these areas.

Approximately seven years ago, a South Beach photo-exhibit and book, documented the outrageously dynamic street-wear of the urban Japanese youth. Iconoclastic, collage-like ensembles of mix ‘n match materials, daringly and unique combined – sometimes with whimsy, sometimes foreboding.

Voila! Here it is in three-dimensions ...
Misha-Janette and Noritaka Tatehana. Shoe-Boot-Creations by Noritaka Tatehana (Lady Gaga's Designer).
Ann Koch wearing Issey Miyake and additional designers. Designer Maggie Norris.
L. to r.: Rosemarie Ponzo ... Collector and Fashion Workshop Leader Tziporah Salamon wearing a 20's Japanese Vintage Ensemble and special Hat by fab Designer Elisa Palomino, bag by Issey Miyake, and Fan by John Galliano ... Associate Curaor Fred Dennis wearing Kilt.
David Noh. Wearing trendy Japanese street-fashion, Amanda Kim and Jiwon Choi.
Skeleton heads, bizarre dolls, fetish-feathers, flower and plastic, cartoon characters, sparking & drab – mostly outrageous with a surreal, haunting beauty. It’s as if their young world has been turned topsy-turvy and inside-out.

Some have speculated that this style is a rebellion against traditionally repressive Japanese culture – one of “uniform and uniformity." When I asked the two adorable Japanese attendees, Amanda Kim and Jiwon Choi – clad, as they too were models for the exhibit, they explained that their style was a reaction to having to wear school uniforms for most of their lives.
Designers Lynda and Daniel Kinne "à la disposition." Bergdorf Goodman's Judy Lockhart.
L. to r.: Modern Japanese-American young Woman wearing Japanese-influenced contempo fashion ... Traditional Japanese Kimona Dress ... Always Fashionable, Joele Frank.
Louise Doktor wearing Issey Miyake. Michelle Harper (right) wearing self-design
with friend, Heather.
Menswear also reflects these trends, infusing pop culture into the very fabric of style.

Styles abound for l’homme. In contrast to simple jeans or a suit and tie, a panalopy of looks, materials and silhouettes.

It will take at least three more visits to absorb the creative complexity and inspiring wonder of Japan Fashion Now – a must for all.
The Importance of Uniforms and Uniformity: Biker Uniforms. Pre-80s Style.
Collage-like Jun Takashi Ensemble.
Innovative, Break-out Menswear By Pheenomenon (Takeshi Osumi) and additional designers.
Character Styles - Lolita Ebsemble, Angelica Pretty, and Alice and The Pirates, and Mielette with matching dolls.
Mondrian Hello Kitty Dress by Han Ahn Soon. Jellyfish Ensemble by Somarta.
Lolita Ensemble with Hello Kitty accessories, Princess Decoration with Betsey Joohnson Dress and "Baby, The Stars Shine Bright" Parasol, and Grimore Mori Girl Ensemble Baby, The Stars Shine Bright ensemble, and Alice and The Pirates Ensemble with Matching Doll
h.NAOTO Ensembles by Muscian Hangry & the Cartoon Character Dolls.
Shoes - a tradition difficult as foot-binding. Louis Vuitton by Takashi Murakami.

The following eve I visited Artist/Designer Amy Zerner’s showcase at the beautiful Rubin Museum of Art. Zerner’s extraordinary unique wearable art also reflects a Japanese-like aesthetic. Replete with Kimono-like silhouettes for jackets and eveningwear, as well as exquisite, emblematic, collaged sewn fabric. Her one-of-a-kinds and jewelry are exclusive to Bergdorf’s.
Artist/Designer Amy Zerner wearing her unique wearable Art creations. . Modeling a unique Asian-influenced Dress.
Amy showcasing her Japanese Kimona influenced jackets with collaged rear panels.
Collaged multi-fabric jacket-wear worn by by Amy Solenstein. "Lords of the Charnel" Mongolian Chittipati from the 19th century, silver, semiprecious stones, silk, at the Rubin Museum — curiously similar in aesthetic to the Japanese & Zerner.
Scarves and books by Amy Zerner.
Artist Colette strikes a pose. Colette's artwear is reminiscent of contempo Japanese young street-wear.'s Patrick Christiano.
Amy Zerner with Bonnie L. Maslin PH.D., Victor B Forbes, and friend.
Photographs by Jill Lynne. Please visit Jill here.

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