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August 3, 2011

Because the September 2011 issue is dedicated to the influence of Japanese design (architecture, craft, and industrial design primarily), we'd be utterly remiss if we didn't give a nod to the tremendous influence of Japanese fashion. Last year the Barbican Art Gallery launched a show called Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion, and though the show closed in February, the excellent catalog by Akiko Fukai, Barbara Vinken, Susanna Frankel, and Hirofumi Kurino, still offers a stunning glimpse at how designers like Rei Kawokubo, Junya Watanabe, Issey Miyake, and others have changed the face of high fashion. Have a look at the slideshow that follows and marvel at some of the most stunning design to come out of Japan.

The cover image for Future Beauty is actually a work of art by Cindy Sherman from 1994. The shapeshifter wears a costume designed by Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons.
The cover image for Future Beauty is actually a work of art by Cindy Sherman from 1994. The shapeshifter wears a costume designed by Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons.
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This image is of a red polyester cap by Hiroaki Ohya is from the Spring/Summer 2000 Wizard of Jeans collection. The cape expands like a beehive and can also be folded flat.
This image is of a red polyester cap by Hiroaki Ohya is from the Spring/Summer 2000 Wizard of Jeans collection. The cape expands like a beehive and can also be folded flat.
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Kawakubo's designs rarely hug the body, instead working with a play of light and shadows, volume and drape. This dress is from her Autumn/Winter 1992-1993 collection for Comme des Garcons is made of purplish brown polyester Georgette (two sheets as sleeve
Kawakubo's designs rarely hug the body, instead working with a play of light and shadows, volume and drape. This dress is from her Autumn/Winter 1992-1993 collection for Comme des Garcons is made of purplish brown polyester Georgette (two sheets as sleeves) and black nylon knit at the massive collar.
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Here's the dress laid out. The photo is by Naoya Hatakeyama and is in the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute.
Here's the dress laid out. The photo is by Naoya Hatakeyama and is in the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute.
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This coat from Rei Kawakubo's 1983-1984 Autumn/Winter collection for Comme des Garcons is made of wool felt. Though it has a strong, sculptural form when worn, it's actually made of two panels, the smaller of which slides through a slit in the larger piec
This coat from Rei Kawakubo's 1983-1984 Autumn/Winter collection for Comme des Garcons is made of wool felt. Though it has a strong, sculptural form when worn, it's actually made of two panels, the smaller of which slides through a slit in the larger piece and hangs from the side of the chest. There are no buttons or fasteners.
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Here's that same coat laid flat. It's incredible what a powerfully constructed form emerges once it's put on.
Here's that same coat laid flat. It's incredible what a powerfully constructed form emerges once it's put on.
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Here's another design by Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons that is defined by a series of slots that once filled create a splendidly textured garment. The dramatic draping is made with twenty sheets of beige binding. It's from the Spring/Summer 1998 collecti
Here's another design by Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons that is defined by a series of slots that once filled create a splendidly textured garment. The dramatic draping is made with twenty sheets of beige binding. It's from the Spring/Summer 1998 collection.
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Here's the dress laid flat. It rather resembles a sleeping bag and only when worn does the ruffle on the bodice take shape.
Here's the dress laid flat. It rather resembles a sleeping bag and only when worn does the ruffle on the bodice take shape.
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This dress is from Junya Watanabe's Autumn/Winter 2000-2001 collection for Comme des Garcons. The "techno couture" collection was marked by organdie ruffs and polyester construction.
This dress is from Junya Watanabe's Autumn/Winter 2000-2001 collection for Comme des Garcons. The "techno couture" collection was marked by organdie ruffs and polyester construction.
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This black wool jersey dress by Junya Watanabe for the Autumn/Winter 2008-2009 Junya Watanabe/Comme des Garcons collection offers a sleeker, sexier silhouette than in previous Comme collections.
This black wool jersey dress by Junya Watanabe for the Autumn/Winter 2008-2009 Junya Watanabe/Comme des Garcons collection offers a sleeker, sexier silhouette than in previous Comme collections.
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Here's a synthetic leather skirt and top by Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons from the Spring/Summer 2009 line. Pret-a-porter it's not. At least not the headpiece.
Here's a synthetic leather skirt and top by Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons from the Spring/Summer 2009 line. Pret-a-porter it's not. At least not the headpiece.
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Junya Watanbe's Feather and Air collection for Junya Watanabe/Comme des Garcons in Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 plays with the lightness and volume of down coats. Clearly this wasn't designed for a weekend in Yosemite. The golden metal chain does give it a bit
Junya Watanbe's Feather and Air collection for Junya Watanabe/Comme des Garcons in Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 plays with the lightness and volume of down coats. Clearly this wasn't designed for a weekend in Yosemite. The golden metal chain does give it a bit of Gothic grandeur.
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Transparency (common in fashion, but rarely so elegant) reigns here in this drewss by Yohji Yamamoto from his Spring/Summer collection of 1983. The photo is Hiroshi Sugimoto.<br /><br /><p><em><strong>Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our </strong></em
Transparency (common in fashion, but rarely so elegant) reigns here in this drewss by Yohji Yamamoto from his Spring/Summer collection of 1983. The photo is Hiroshi Sugimoto.

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The cover image for Future Beauty is actually a work of art by Cindy Sherman from 1994. The shapeshifter wears a costume designed by Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons.
The cover image for Future Beauty is actually a work of art by Cindy Sherman from 1994. The shapeshifter wears a costume designed by Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons.

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