Japanese designers have created some of the most innovative and stunning pieces of the past 30 years and this exhibit highlights just how influential Japanese culture and western culture are upon each other. Featuring iconic designers such as Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamoto and Rei Kawakubo, fashion through the last 30 years is exceptionally shown in such a way that you feel a fitting sense of progression.
Adhering to Japanese tradition, the pioneering designers adapt the trends of western culture and sexuality into their pieces. It is clear what the designers are influenced by: the origami shaped dresses and the detailed images of nature printed onto the fabrics exude the culture and tradition of Japan.
The exhibition shows just how fashion has changed over the decades, moving from simplicity and monochrome to embellishments and eccentricity. Everything from urban street style to the classic kimono traditions can be seen here, and you really do get a sense of ‘fashion through the ages.’ The descriptions are printed onto fabrics, hanging from the ceiling, whilst film recordings of iconic shows are projected onto the walls surrounding the pieces. Fabrics have been framed and hung high above their finished counterparts, accentuating how simple shapes can often lead to the most complicated images.
Not only does the Barbican show historically prolific pieces, but if exhibits new designers and their cutting-edge designs, showing how Japanese fashion still leads the way in new trends. This section focuses on the ‘Next Generation’ designers like Chitose Abe, Mikio Sakabe, as well as labels such as Comme des Garcons ad Mint Designs. It is in the clear historical development and innovation throughout the exhibition, that 30 years is marked not as an end, but as a beginning, of fashion and beauty in eastern countries.