Lenge Kotzé (KOT002)
Class: Wednesday 16:00
I hereby confirm that this essay doesn’t include any plagiarism and that it is my own work referenced according to the Harvard referencing guide.
“The Orient has helped to define the West as its contrasting image, idea, personality, experience.” (Said 1991:2) Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto were among the first non-western designers to be included in the official world of fashion since the revolution of the first Paris show in 1981 Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto appeared in. (Teunissen, 2005) While Western dressmaking focussed on showing the natural shape of the human body, “by contrast, Japanese designers creations shrouded the body.” (Fukai 2005:22) Fashion in the West has mainly been based on creating the ideal silhouette and body shape through clothing. Japanese traditional clothing, in contrast, focusses on straight cloths of fabric namely the kimono as well as folding of fabric. (Teunissen, 2005: 15) Similar to their roots of the concept of the Japanese kimono, fabric is put on the body in “a manner that acknowledges the fabric’s two-dimensional nature.” (Fukai 2005:22) The result of this is the creation of drapes due to the excess fabric. (Fukai, 2005) Yamamoto’s 2010 collection consists of garments being created by the use of excess fabric to create dresses with volume, hiding the body shape – similar to a kimono. This concept of the body not dictating the shape of the garment can be seen in Miyake’s 2011 collection where the garments were created by staff folding pieces of paper into origami-like creations and then moments later models appearing on the runway in fabric versions of the folded creations, regardless of the shape of the female body being taken into consideration. The shapeless, baggy dresses of the Japanese designers like Yamamoto breaks down barriers of gender which results in Androgynous designs. Androgyny is described as having both feminine masculine characteristics. (Dictionary, 2013) “Through the constant use of flat shoes, abstract make-up and walking in an ‘ordinary’ way during the shows, the models always look androgynous and abstract.” (Teunissen, 2005: 15) These baggy designs are also asymmetric (Fukai, 2005: 22.) Asymmetry is another element of Japanese creations especially in the works of Yamamoto. Teunissen (2005) cited her own work that symmetry symbolises perfection, but Yamamoto views it as being ‘inhuman’. (Teunissen 2001: 83) After the deconstructionism phase of the mid 1980s, Yamamoto became more inclined to Western dressmaking techniques of tailored designs, also associated with his early career. (Fukai, 2005) This Western element of tailored, structured designs can be identified in the supplied image of Yamamoto’s autumn/ winter 2010 collection. The jackets has elements of a suit collar with peaked lapels, which indicates a tailored design as well as a crinoline assisting with the shape of the dress which is originally a Western fashion element. (Ordonac, 2009) Yamamoto is one of the Japanese designers best understood in the West as he never deviates far from Western culture context. (Fukai 2005: 23) “The image that exotic cultures have of themselves is often determined by the dominant West.” (Teunissen 2005:11) Countries that are non-Western have an auto-exotic gaze about their own culture and what constitutes as their own tradition. An “exotic” product is created by these non-Western countries by looking through the eyes of the Western society to see what is perceived as being traditional and exotic to them and then offered back to the West. (Teunissen 2005:11) Abandoning colour in favour of monochrome shades in the designs of both Miyake and Yamamoto in an expression of Japanese aesthetic roots known as “Wabi Sabi.” (Fukai 2005:19) This Japanese tradition as well as dominantly making use of black in their designs...
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