Cool Japan exhibit: designer fashion (part 5)

Japan is not only the country of the cool warrior costumes, the kawaii coordinated outfits, and the detailed cosplay outfits, but also, the place, where the famous fashion designers, Kawakubo Rei (from the fashion brand, Comme des Garçons), Yohji Yamamoto, and Issey Miyake originated from. In the 1980s, these three fashion designers created a revolution with their "back-to-the-essence" fashion and gloomy color use. Their clothing were often unisex and hid the natural curves of the female body. Some of the characteristics are: fabrics with a rough texture, unfinished details, and asymmetry.     

Museum Volkenkunde Leiden Netherlands Cool Japan exhibit ancient Japanese robes symetrical design prints

At the exhibit, there were two ancient Japanese robes with a symmetric print and it was fun to see how Japanese fashion evolved from that to simple, experimental fashion with asymmetrical designs.

Museum Volkenkunde Leiden Netherlands Cool Japan exhibitfamous Japanese fashion designers

The first outfit, a black ensemble, is from Yohji Yamamoto (around 1990)
The second outfit, a blue sweater, is from Kawakubo Rei (Comme des Garçons, 1985).
The third outfit, a red tartan draped dress, is from Kawakubo Rei (Comme des Garçons, 1999-2000). 
The fourth outfit, a black trouser suit, was part of Issey Miyake's 'Pleats please' series from 1988.

They were also a source of inspiration for the younger generation of fashion designers, such as the Belgian fashion designer, Ann Demeulemeester. In the very right, you can find a design of hers, which was made with a fabric normally used for business suits (1999-2000), but the asymmetrical design and the way it was draped around the body, made it playful as well as elegant.  

Museum Volkenkunde Leiden Netherlands Cool Japan exhibit Kawakubo Rei Comme des Garçons Issey Miyake Pleats please Ann Demeulemeester

From far away, the clothing doesn't catch the eye as much as the colorful kawaii outfits and it may seem a bit boring and simple, but when you look at them up close, you can find some surprising details.

Museum Volkenkunde Leiden Netherlands Cool Japan exhibit blue sweater red tartan draped dress Kawakubo Rei Comme des Garçons black trouser suit Issey Miyake Pleats please.

This outfit from Yohji Yamamoto actually reminds me a bit of my favorite, long, oversized and baggy black vest, which I had worn almost everywhere, when I was 14 years old. I didn't know I had such an eye for fashion so soon already.

Museum Volkenkunde Leiden Netherlands Cool Japan exhibit  black ensemble Yohji Yamamoto (around 1990)

The Russian fashion designer, Alena Akhmadullina, was also inspired by Japan, when she made this dress in 2016 based on the famous colored woodblock print, The great wave off Kanagawa, from Hokusai (around 1829-1833). The dress was borrowed from the New York blogger Tina Lee. I really love the bright red and blue in combination with the white "foams" of the waves. There are also some wave applications on the sheer under part of the dress. 

Museum Volkenkunde Leiden Netherlands Cool Japan exhibit Russian fashion designer Alena Akhmadullina The great wave off Kanagawa Hokusai

This is the end of my 5-part blog article series about the Cool Japan exhibit at the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden, the Netherlands. But I will write one more article about the main exhibits that you can find in this museum.

Related articles
Part 5 - Cool Japan exhibit: designer fashion 

Popular Posts