MANIFESTO

#61

ART NOW

KOENJI DOLLS

2023.03.03

Photography TAKASHI HOMMA

Fashion SEBASTIAN SUPEL

JAPANESE FASHION AVANT-GARDE

 

Just as Japanese fashion avant-garde managed to shake the world, expectations for the new generation of designers are also very high.

The goal of creative people today is to bring modernity to classic elements, along with the deep study of ideas and concepts that allow any kind of shape and pattern to be developed. Japanese culture presents a very important dualism, on the one hand there is local tradition, and on the other hand Western influences appear. Recurring features in each fit are related to a loose, “comic” fit inspired by Takeshi Kitano’s 2002 film Dolls. The footage is visibly stunning; there are three romantic stories told using elements of the Japanese folk puppets theater called Bunraku. The title of the film, Dolls, comes from the iconic location that is one of the last preserved and still existing areas located west of Tokyo, where artists, musicians, and fashionistas reside, and the historic and colorful punk subculture continues to prevail to this day. Here there is a combination of garments taken from archives and current collections, personifying the eternal spirit of a timeless continuity; outfits speak across archetypes and patterns taken from the Bunraku repertoire. The connection between fashion and the setting of this story carries an inherent narrative, a cross juxtaposition between the innocence of childhood and teenagers embracing power against society.

Socks EMARY, bag YOUEI X MICHIRU CHIRUCHIRU.
Look EMARY, shoes PAULA CANOVAS DEL VAS.
Sweater KEISUKE YOSHIDA, mesh mask TAKAHIRO MIYASHITA THE SOLOIST.
Kimono HANNAH YAGI.
Top ORIMI, socks EMARY, bag YOUEI X MICHIRU CHIRUCHIRU.

Designer Hana Yagi’s flamingo pink kimono was recreated from vintage kimonos and dresses and, engulfed in the Japanese spirit of “boro,” was embellished with patch-like appliqués. Hana, 23, is the youngest finalist for International Talent Support 2019, having graduated from Coconogacco in Tokyo, Japan, a school renowned for its approach that teaches students not only fashion, but creative thinking. Much of her work is often realized with resuscitated fabrics from vintage pieces. The YOUEI x Michiru pillow bag outfit is worn as a playful nod to the Japanese Obi, an imaginative reference to the traditional belt used to fasten the kimono. Keisuke Yoshida’s jumbo fair isle sweater, featuring padded shoulders to create emphasis on them has a folkloric feel to it; so many of the costumes in the film Dolls had a worn and shaped look, not only by the rugged environment present in all four seasons in Japan, but also by the characters of the characters themselves.The knitted fair isle pattern is a westernized urban juxtaposition suited to the colorful streets of Koenji, which represent a perfect comic irregular and unstable dimension in which the garment can be placed. Picking up on the theme of irregularity, Yoshiki Hishinuma, the former assistant to Issey Miyake who opened his maison in 1992, makes use of the high-tech heat-shrinking shibori technique, working with laminable and dissolvable threads that create the pleats, wrinkles and ripples of clothing. This experimental weaving achieves a result that correlates with the surroundings, multiple strands of power lines arranged as a truly organized chaos. Designer Emily Tanaka also created a jumpsuit with vintage wool yarns, woven using a technique similar to the traditional Saori method, yet with a contemporary approach. Tattered and destroyed in appearance, using distinct but also inconspicuous colors, Emi studied at Vantan Design Institute and Me Fashion School, then worked as an assistant for Mikio Sakabe and Jenny Fax before founding her own label, Emary. Comme des Garcons protégé Junya Watanabe began working with nylon in the early 2000s, reconstructing the U.S. Airforce aviator jacket (MA-1) in the classic Khaki color shade, giving it new life. Watanabe’s hooded dress incorporates the details of the iconic MA-1 aviator bomber jacket but, cleverly reconstructed in an elegant key, becomes an oversize draped dress. In Dolls, elements of traditional clothing are constantly noticeable. Revisiting the film allows this type of garment to become ideal today in terms of durability, comfort and practicality. Designer Takahiro Miyashita, king of layering, tends to reinvigorate less common silhouettes and garments derived from the dandy era, often coming from elements that entered Japanese culture from American imports, such as deconstruction and reformatting in unconventional ways. Instead, it plays equally on attention to detail, with scrupulously designed inner and outer structure. The deconstructed patchwork sleeves with cable-knit are an obvious example. Each dress conveys abundant and altogether interesting pictorial inspiration: emphasizing reconstructed visual motifs, poetic gestures and nostalgic attitudes of Bunraku. Therefore, fashion becomes not only a means of expressing one’s person and personality, but also a fundamental element in the socio-cultural growth of a people. Fashion is a blossoming world that allows everyone to find a way forward toward the awareness of being human, free and unique.

 

Text by TIA BANG

Full look JUNYA WATANABE.
left: Top ORIMI, bag YOUEI X MICHIRU CHIRUCHIRU. right: Full look JUNYA WATANABE.

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