Shock Wave Inaugural Exhibition at the Denver Art Museum

Shock Wave is the inaugural exhibition organized by Florence Müller, the Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Curator of Fashion, who joined the museum in 2015. Fashion aficionados Jessica Montour of Fashion Forward and Nancy Blizzard of The Daisy Blue Variety Show were ecstatic to have an Xclusive interview with Florence to hear her perspective on the evolution of Japanese Fashion.  The exhibit includes 20 recent acquisitions for the DAM’s collection and also spotlights important loans from the fashion collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the de Young Museum in San Francisco, as well as from local and national private lenders.

The young and very trendy designers of today are looking at Japanese designs as masterworks…really, they very often speak of and study what was done with Japanese Fashion in the 1980’s and 1990’s

Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s–90s, shows work by Japanese designers who started a fashion revolution in Paris. The exhibition features 70 looks by powerhouse designers Issey Miyake, Kenzo Takada, Kansai Yamamoto, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, and Junya Watanabe, whose impact on fashion still resonates today.


Issey Miyake, March 1980 Photo Jean-Luce Hure

Kenzo Takada, 1986 Photo Jean-Luce Hure

Yohji Yamamoto, 1986 Photo Jean-Luce Hure

Junya Watanabe Photo Jean-Luce Hure

Rei Kawakubo, 1986 Photo Jean-Luce Hure

Works on view illustrate concepts such as the intersection of tradition and modernity; the influence of pop-culture motifs; molding the body versus hiding the body with oversized shapes; reinventing the traditional Western representation of femininity; collaborations between contemporary artists and fashion designers; and other diverse ways of challenging the fashion system.

The influences of pop culture in society and specifically where it intersects with high fashion intrigues me. I am fascinated with how Shock Wave highlights the influences of David Bowie in the curated Kansai Yamamoto collection.

Emphasizing these elements, the exhibition demonstrates how Japanese designers confronted the work of European designers (such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Anne-Marie Beretta, Azzedine Alaïa, and Thierry Mugler) during the 1980s, while they inspired younger European designers (such as Martin Margiela, Helmut Lang, John Galliano, and Dries Van Noten) in the 1990s.

Shock Wave is on view through May 28, 2017.
source: Denver Art Museum Website

Written By: Jessica Montour

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Photos by Teddy G / Xposer Photography

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