My earliest recollection of fashion is vivid. And tri-fold. The precious, pretty pleats of Issey Miyake. The wicked tongue-in-cheek wit of Zandra Rhodes. And the ever so glamorous, womanly figure swathed in Bruce Oldfield. A little later, I became enraptured with the whimsical world of the Madhatter but that’s a tale for another time.
Back to when it all began. I was particularly enamoured of the intricacy of Miyake’s work. Such precision. A deft hand in creating beauty out of seemingly nothing but voluminous folds of fabric. Thus when I met Lyn of Accidental Icon and found out how much she too adores Japanese designers (yes, including Mr Miyake), it was clearly a match made in guest blogger heaven.
I was so thrilled when Sheela asked me to do a guest post on her blog about my favorite subject, Japanese designers. Most of the pieces in my closet are from the Japanese design lines produced by Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Comme des Garçons and I have recently discovered Yohji”s daughter, Limi, who has a line called Limi Feu.
There are a number of designers in the “house” of Comme that are the primary designers of lines I wear. Tao Kurihara continues to design Tricot Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garçons and Robe de Chambre and last but certainly not least, Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons and Comme des Garçons Black.
Similarly at Issey Miyake, Makiko Minagawa, a textile designer, is responsible for Pleats Please and, since 2006, Dai Fujiwara, the designer behind the women’s collection.
What draws me to Japanese designs?
I have to say first and foremost is comfort. The textiles are always very tactile and the draping is masterful. The clothes feel protective yet provocative. There is often a playful joke hidden in the piece. Rei Kawakubo is especially good at this. Many of the pieces can be worn different ways. For example, I will often turn my Pleats Please Miyake jackets upside down to make a gorgeous top or shawl. I have a Comme des Garçons shirt you can wear backwards or forwards. Most of the pieces are amenable to layering, which I love to do and, of course, many of the pieces are black and white!
For those of you who love the designs but fear the price tag of these designers, let me say that my clothes are purchased exclusively in consignment and re-sale shops, both online as well as brick and mortar. I also take advantage of end of season sales. When there is a large price tag, these sales can often mean up to 75% off, making pieces much more affordable. My most exciting find occurred when I found a beautiful soft leather, ruffled handbag by Comme des Garçons which I purchased for $75 in a re-sale shop after finding it at the bottom of a box of bags. When I researched the bag online, I discovered that it was selling on ebay for $1,000!
So, if you are feeling a little dark and subversive, want to be playful or look artistic, try a piece from one of these amazing designers.
p/s Lyn’s wearing Miyake, but of course 🙂