The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (MFIT) presents Japan Fashion Now on View at The Museum at FIT in New York City September 17, 2010-January 8, 2011, the first exhibition to explore contemporary Japanese fashion in all its radical creativity, from avant-garde high fashion to street and subcultural styles, from menswear to new designers. Approximately 100 ensembles will be on display, some two dozen in an introductory gallery devoted to the Japanese вЂњfashion revolutionвЂќ of the 1980s, and the rest in a dramatic mise-en-scГЁne evoking the iconic cityscape of 21st-century Tokyo.
Featured designers include Jun Takahashi of Undercover (described by journalist Suzy Menkes as вЂњthe essence of Japanese coolвЂќ), Hirooka Naoto (the designer behind h.NAOTO, JapanвЂ™s most successful Gothic-Punk-Lolita fashion empire, who has said, вЂњI aim to be the most extreme and scandalous brand in the worldвЂќ), and menswear designer Takeshi Osumi of Phenomenon (who just presented his first spectacular runway collection in Tokyo).
Previous museum exhibitions have focused on the first generation of avant-garde designers who came to prominence in the 1980s: Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des GarГ§ons, and Yohji Yamamoto. Japan Fashion Now acknowledges their historic contribution to global fashion but also moves beyond the first wave of Deconstruction to explore how dramatically Japanese fashion has changed over the past twenty years. Among the new Japanese designers featured are Chitose Abe of sacai, Hiroyuki Horihata and Makiko Sekiguchi of Matohu, and Hiroki Nakamura of visvim.
Equally compelling is the range of Japanese street fashion - from the elegant and bizarre costumes called Kamikaze suits worn by members of JapanвЂ™s Speed Tribe to the hyper-cute outfits of the Princess Decoration Style. Also on display will be JapanвЂ™s iconic school uniforms, famous Lolita brands such as Baby, the Stars Shine Bright (featured in the cult movie Kamikaze Girls, and the latest Forest Girl looks. Idol singers Hangry and Angry will lend their own clothes by h.NAOTO.
вЂњJapan continues to be on the cutting-edge - maybe even the bleeding edge - of fashion,вЂќ says museum director and exhibition curator, Dr. Valerie Steele. вЂњHowever, Japanese fashion today embraces not only the cerebral, avant-garde looks associated with the first wave of Japanese design in the 1980s, but also a range of youth-oriented looks, such as Gothic Lolita and Forest Girl styles. Some of the best designers combine avant-garde and subcultural styles. Equally significant is the Japanese obsession (not too strong a word) with perfecting classic utilitarian garments, such as jeans and work wear.вЂќ
The exhibition was designed by Charles B. Froom, with assistance from Fred Dennis and Ken Nintzel, and graphic design by Adrian Kitzinger. Additional assistance was provided by C.J. Yeh, FIT assistant professor of Communication Design, and the FIT Media Design Club.