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Hello! Fashion: Kansai Yamamoto, 1971 to 1973 at The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Flying Saucer Dress, Spring/summer 1994, (Designed by Issey Miyake, Japanese, born 1938). Polyester plain weave, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Gift of Issey Miyake.
PHILADELPHIA.- Kansai Yamamoto (born 1944), one of the founding fathers of Japanese contemporary fashion, is best known for his work of the 1970s and 1980s. Inspired by the colorful art of Japan’s Momoyama period (1568–1615) and traditional Kabuki theater, his exuberant designs contrast with the Zen-like simplicity and deconstructed silhouettes favored today by designers such as Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo, and Issey Miyake.

Kansai opened his first boutique in Tokyo in 1968 and eventually expanded worldwide. His collections debuted in the United States in 1971 at Hess’s in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a department store known for its controversial fashion shows of American and European styles selected for their potential to influence ready-to-wear clothing designs. (Rudy Gernreich’s topless bathing suit was first modeled at Hess’s in 1964.) That same year Kansai became the first Japanese designer to show in London, where his clothing was seen by musician David Bowie; Bowie later commissioned Kansai to create the wardrobe for his Ziggy Stardust stage persona. The designer was again featured in Hess’s showing of Asian trendsetting fashions for fall/winter 1973 at One World Trade Center in New York. All of the Kansai ensembles on view in this gallery were modeled at the New York event; several were shown earlier in London.

Since his last collection for fall/winter 1992, Kansai has lent his name to licensed products ranging from eyeglasses to tableware. His fashion show spectaculars have become the framework for the grand Kansai Super Shows, the first of which was held in Moscow’s Red Square in 1993. Others held since in Japan, Vietnam, India, and Berlin have drawn audiences in the hundreds of thousands.

Kansai recently returned to fashion as a designer of traditional Japanese garments in a contemporary idiom including kimono (2004) and Hanten festival–inspired coats (2007). He continues to produce Super Shows as part of a larger initiative to invigorate the arts in Japan and serves as a government advisor on tourism and cultural affairs.



Today's News

May 24, 2008

Gallery That Houses Guernica at the Reina Sofia in Madrid to Get Complete Overhaul

Woking's Lightbox Gallery and Museum Wins 100,000 Arts Prize

Splendor in the Bass: The Portraits on View at The Bass Museum

Nothing is Lost, Nothing is Created, Everything is Transformed: The Quebec Triennial

Christie's Announces Sale of Jeff Koons' Ballon Flower at Post War and Contemporary Art Sale

Latin American Art From the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art at NY State Museum

Cornell Capa, Founder of International Center of Photography, Died at 90

The West - East - The Niall Hobhouse Collection Realises GBP2,906,275

Asia Society Presents Drawings by Iranian Satirist Ardeshir Mohassess in First US Retrospective

Landscapes: Real and Imagined Opens at The Nelson Atkins-Museum in Kansas City

Tate St. Ives is First Public Gallery to Present Selected Survey of Adam Chodzko

Burial of Patrick Ireland at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

Hello! Fashion: Kansai Yamamoto, 1971 to 1973 at The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Mayor Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz to Celebrate Brooklyn Bridge 125th Anniversary

Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape Opens at MASS MoCA

The Spirit is Quilling: Rolled-Paper Filigree at Brandywine River Museum

Calling a Bluff: Hendrick Ter Brugghen's The Gamblers at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Mystery over massive Alexander the Great-era tomb unearthed in northern Greece

2.- An ancient money box containing a large rare hoard of coins found in Israel

3.- Robin Williams' portrait installed today at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington

4.- The Baltimore Museum of Art announces three new contemporary exhibitions in fall

5.- New Aspen Art Museum designed by architect Shigeru Ban opens to the public

6.- New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art launches 82nd & Fifth app in 12 languages

7.- MoMA online-only publication features new research on Pablo Picasso and Cubism

8.- Volunteers needed for massive Smithsonian digitization project

9.- Tate Britain welcomes home John Everett Millais's Ophelia and Rossetti’s The Beloved

10.- Bogart estate: Hollywood golden age icon Lauren Bacall dead at 89 in New York

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