seattle: future beauty

© takashi hakatemaya / final home - kosuke  tsumura [1994] - collection of the kyoto costume institute

you may not realize it but without the wicked innovation of japanese designers today's fashion scene would be a lot less interesting. currently on at the seattle art museum is an exhibition that explores the tremendous creativity of japanese fashion designers. titled future beauty - 30 years of japanese fashion, the show is curated by fashion historian akiko fukai of the kyoto costume institute and sheds light on all the highlights from the early 1980s to the present. in the 1970s designers kenzo takada and issey miyake had already gained recognition in the western world, but it's in the 1980s that japanese designers emerged with an entirely new aesthetic and marks the arrival of rei kawakubo and yohji yamamoto.

the duo invented a highly influential and totally new aesthetic at the runway shows in paris. these designs were recognized as a radical counterproposal to western notions of the fitted form and gained instant notoriety. on display are 80 gowns, ranging from classic and elegant to outrageous, and created by leading designers issey miyake, kenzo takada, rei kawakubo, yohji yamamoto, junya watanabe, jun takahashi and others, in addition to video screenings of runway shows, artist photographs, magazines, and ephemera designed by renowned international artists [on through sep 8]. location: 1300 first avenue [downtown].

© takashi hakateyama / designs by rei kawakubo and junya watanabe [top + bottom]