Skip to content

Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion (Touring)

Start Date 21 March 2014
End Date 11 May 2014
Venue National Museum of Modern Art
Location Kyoto, Japan

In the latter part of the 20th century, Japanese fashion soared to astounding heights throughout the world. Buoyed in part by Japan’s remarkable economic growth, it developed its own, original identity over the years. In the 1970s, fashion designers such as Kenzo Takada, Issey Miyake and Hanae Mori presented their works in Paris, and attracted attention of Western eyes. Following in their footsteps, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto made their debut in Paris in 1981. Freed from the conventional aesthetics of western fashion, the works of these Japanese fashion designers were considered “avant-garde” and were met with mixed reception. Notwithstanding, not only was their work distinguished by their unique and highly distinctive talent, but it was permeated by distinctive characteristics such as “flatness,” “achromatic colors,” and “emphasis on materials,” which exemplified a unique sensitivity developed over centuries of Japanese culture and tradition. The magnitude of their influence on the fashion industry is evident in the fact that there are now many designers of different nationalities who highly respect these Japanese designers, and their so-called “avant-garde” expressions have now become mainstream at various levels in many fields.

Still younger generations of Japanese designers have connected themselves with sub-cultures such as anime, manga (cartoons) and the Internet. They have detached themselves from the oftentimes highly systematic fashion world, and are trying to ascertain the trends and transitions of society, and perceive the hidden problems therein. Their sincere efforts to establish a new relationship between Man and his clothes are indeed readily apparent.

What has supported the realization of their ideas in the field of materials is the extremely high level of Japanese dyeing & weaving techniques exemplified by the master-craftsmanship and the pure spirit of inquiry of Kyoto artisans. This exhibition emphasizes the skills and potential of craftsmen and ateliers who, through collaboration with fashion designers, have continued to create new and exciting works. It also provides for in-depth and comprehensive consideration of the unique characteristics of Japanese fashion through various media such as clothes and images, a distinctiveness that has become highly esteemed throughout the world.



The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. The Kyoto Costume Institute