Lasts week, we lost iconic avant-garde fashion designer, Kansai Yamamoto. Yamamoto is best known for this long-term collaboration with David Bowie, especially the costumes for the Martian rocker’s Ziggy Stardust tour.
On the Fashion United website, there’s a piece about the 2018 Brooklyn Museum evening with Yamamoto, done in support of the David Bowie Is exhibit.
Here, Yamamoto describes his collaboration with Bowie:
“Unlike me, Bowie was quiet, shy, but on stage he flips a switch and becomes David Bowie,” says Yamamoto. “Me, I’m always that way.” But they shared a love of what the designer calls “radical appearance,” and when asked what they learned from each other, he replies that through Bowie he developed his understanding of Western dress while he helped Bowie interpret Eastern clothing. He agrees that he sees a direct line between what he created in the 70s for Bowie and the current conversation on gender and dress. “I approached Bowie’s clothes as if I was designing for a female,” he admits. “Notice there is no zipper in front.” But he feels proud seeing how the younger generation attending the “David Bowie Is” exhibit can express themselves when compared to the societal restrictions he encountered in Japan 50 years ago, as a self-taught, broke, designer launching his career at the age of 21. A photographer had snapped a picture of him walking along London’s Kings Road and it was featured on the cover of Life magazine. “I felt every day I was the model in a fashion show and everyone around me were members of the audience,” he says. “There were many times, people looked at me weird.”
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