Japanese conceptual design: Unconvention is lowkey the new convention.

Wassup mer peeps, I awfully miss blogging. I've been itching to write this blog post, so here goes...


Look 12. Comme des Garcons Fall 2017
Ready-to-Wear. Paris Fashion Week.
Photo by: Kim Weston Arnold
Look 2. Comme des Garcons Fall 2017.
Ready-to-Wear. Paris Fashion Week. 
Photo by: Kim Weston Arnold
Recently, I have been brutally (for the lack of a better word) inspired by postmodern Japanese conceptual design (fashion design) - to be more specific, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto have caged my heart lol. Just like any fan I've been reading their interviews and watching videos of their collections through the years, and I have discovered that they have influenced modern fashion in a very dramatic way. Yamamoto and Kawakubo grew up in post-war Japan. With war comes destruction and poverty, it can be said that these years of suffering have influenced the sombre tones of their work. Whilst Yamamoto's designs are more focused on monochromatic palettes, Kawakubo's designs are more focused on the rejection and abstraction of the traditional female body. She alters the silhouette of the female body through design and this can be seen as subversiveness to Western beauty standards of a fitted garment, where a woman's waist must be cinched in. This is not to say that there is not beauty in a fitted hour-glass silhouette, however, it is to show that beauty can come in different shapes and sizes, abstract or the conventional. The fabric then acts as a new skin when conventional proportions are changed. This is evident in a recent collection by Comme des Garcons Fall 2017, Kawakubo has subverted the "standard" female skeletal structure. The models are pale faced and are not as groomed as what Paris Fashion Week couture shows would have their models to appear. 

Yamamoto on the other hand shows more androgyny and somberness. His belief is that hiding the traditional female body and femininity “emerges from the very heart of her existence” as he has once quoted. His definition of beauty is probably what inspires his creations, seeing the “ugly” as “beautiful” is convention to him. Strength and brokenness juxtapose each other, Yamamoto combines these two when designing, his work is contradictory and that is a characteristic of postmodernity.  In his latest collection – Yohji Yamamoto Fall 2017 – his main colour used is black, he does incorporate other colours into his clothing however the dominant theme is black. He incorporates details such as gathers, flare, pleating, draping, quilting, raw threads and wool, and clean cut finishes into his garments which in turn alter the traditional silhouette of the female body, his layering techniques give the garments volume. The proportions of the garments are not natural in comparison to a conventional female body, and some garments create a more straight body shape which moves away from the femininity of female curves and thus creates and androgynous feel. Although Yamamoto’s creations are more tailored to the body than Kawakubo’s he still maintains a Japanese inspired aesthetic which is closely related to the kimono. His use of lengthy proportions, asymmetric front openings and long sleeves are details that are reminiscent of a kimono, he interprets it in a contemporary way.
Look 15. Yohji Yamamoto Fall 2017
Ready-to-Wear. Paris Fashion Week.
Photo by: Monica Fuedi

Look 32. Yohji Yamamoto Fall 2017
Ready-to-Wear. Paris Fashion Week.
Photo by: Monica Fuedi




Modern Western culture has somehow managed to objectify a woman's body, it is thus a natural response for artists to move away from objectification and allowing a woman to give meaning to her own body. Today I wore a monochromatic outfit (because I am inspired by Rei and Yohji lol) and I sort of felt good lol, it was a very basic outfit however, one cannot see whether I have lose weight or gained, if I am curvy or angular... the mystery belongs to me. "For something to be beautiful it doesn't have to be pretty" - Rei Kawakubo.














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