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‘Global Impact of Japanese Fashion’ at Asian Art Museum

SAN FRANCISCO — A talk on “Global Impact of Japanese Fashion” will be given on Thursday, March 21, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St. in San Francisco’s Civic Center.

Free with museum admission ($10 after 5 p.m.).

Taking its cue from the exhibition “Kimono Refashioned,” this program considers how kimono and other aspects of Japanese culture have inspired global fashion for over 150 years. In this lively discussion, panelists Miki Higasa, Patricia Mears and Masafumi Monden consider the influence of Japanese art and design on fashion, the impact of contemporary designers on the fashion industry and the relationship between high fashion and popular culture. Moderated by Dr. Karin Oen, associate curator of contemporary art.

• Miki Higasa is the founder of Kaleidoscope Consulting, a brand strategy, marketing and communications consultancy specializing in fashion and design. Previously, she was an international press officer and special projects director at Comme des Garçons in Tokyo and New York for 16 years.

• Patricia Mears has been a fashion curator for nearly 30 years, first at the Brooklyn Museum and then at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she is currently deputy director. She has organized more than 20 exhibitions and written numerous books, essays and articles on an array of fashion-related topics.

• Masafumi Monden is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. The author of “Japanese Fashion Cultures: Dress and Gender in Contemporary Japan” (2015), he is currently working on a book about cultural imaginations of Japanese girlhood and boyhood as well as another on the cultural history of fashion and the body in Japan.

In the early 1980s, Japanese avant-garde designers took Paris by storm, disrupting the world of haute couture with their minimalist, deconstructed clothing. But this was not the first time that Japanese design principles had transformed international fashion. Instead, as “Kimono Refashioned” reveals, kimono — its materials, forms, techniques and decorative motifs — has inspired designers for more than 150 years.

One of the earliest dresses in this exhibition, which closes May 5, is a bustle gown made in the 1870s in London and fashioned from a dismantled kimono. A 1920s Paul Poiret dress adopted the loose fit of the kimono for the modern woman. Recent designs by Tom Ford for Gucci and John Galliano attest to the perennial appeal of the signature kimono silhouette, while traditional Japanese decorative motifs have been reinterpreted by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and Christian Louboutin.

Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons and Iris van Herpen are experimenting with shibori techniques and Yohji Yamamoto has rethought the obi. Issey Miyake gets at the conceptual heart of kimono in his “A Piece of Cloth” designs, which reinterpret its essential flatness.

Featuring over 35 garments from the Kyoto Costume Institute, “Kimono Refashioned” shows us that kimono continue to be a fertile source of ideas for contemporary designers, both in Japan and across the globe.

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