japanese art, design and culture

Category — Fashion

Bird-Witched | Cock-inspired Stilettos by Masaya Kushino


Japanese shoe designer Masaya Kushino, known for his extravagant creations that walk a thin line between footwear and sculpture, has created a new line of shoes inspired by the chicken. “Bird-Witched” actually takes its cue from Jakuchu Ito, “a legendary painter who flourished during the Edo period in the 18th century,” says Kushino. “He depicted real life animals such as birds, tigers, and elephants in a really ingenious way, tinged with a bit of insanity.”

For his latest collection, Kushino decided to depict the process of a bird turning into a pair of luxurious, feather-clad shoes. But Kushino reassures us that the shoes aren’t only to look at. They are fundamentally wearable footwear which, in Kushino’s mind, clearly separates them from standalone art objects.

Bird-Witched is currently on display at the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art. But Kushino’s heels will be traveling to the US for an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum later this year.

bird-witched02 bird-witched03 bird-witched01

source: artinfo

April 1, 2014   No Comments

Futon Fashion | Japanese designers present bedroom chic for Fall 2014


from left to right: Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe

This winter was cold. Brutally cold. And judging by the runway shows that Japanese fashion designers just released for the Fall 2014 season, cold was just about the only thing on their minds too. Japanese masters Rei Kawakubo (for Comme des Garcons), Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe all showcased voluminous, futon-like coats that conjure up images of warm bedding.

So if you’re trying to get ahead of next season’s trends, you don’t have to look farther than your own bedroom. However, the leading fashion designers aren’t always ahead of the curve. This guy and his wearable kotatsu one-upped them all last year.

Comme des Garçons

comme-de-garcons-rtw-fw2014-runway-11_180510534147 comme-de-garcons-rtw-fw2014-runway-04_18050522970

comme-de-garcons-rtw-fw2014-runway-15_180514843988 comme-de-garcons-rtw-fw2014-runway-14_180513298834

Yohji Yamamoto



Junya Watanabe

junya-watanabe-rtw-fw2014-runway-30_091936778389 junya-watanabe-rtw-fw2014-runway-29_091935650998

source: artinfo

March 10, 2014   1 Comment

Atmospheric Reentry | Otherworldly Headdresses by Maiko Takeda

look7photos by Bryan Huynh, courtesy the artist



Gravity-defying forms and morphing colors characterize the extravagant, otherworldly headdresses created by milliner and jeweler Maiko Takeda. The London-educated Tokyoite painstakingly assembles her hats – if you can call them hats – first by cutting out her pointy shapes and then attaching them piece by piece to a larger structure.

The final creation, for its chaotic beauty, has been likened to everything from Hellraiser to hedgehogs, porcupines and caterpillars.

“I want to create surreal, subtle dramas around the person wearing my piece and the people near them,” says Takeda, in an interview with mb. She goes on to explain how Philip Glass’s opera “Einstein on the Beach” inspired her latest collection titled Atmospheric Reentry: “ It is a very repetitive, non-stop physical work. The actors move like machines, but at the same time you can see them sweating and running out of breath. I found that very interesting to watch. I felt the strong power of young people who have nothing to lose when I saw it. It was the simplest form of expression. That really touched my heart.”






Takeda began touching hearts, and turning heads, this year when – just 2 weeks after her MFA show – Bjork chose to wear her pieces on her Biophilia tour, which just ended earlier this month. “I couldn’t believe it! …I wasn’t sure if it would be comfortable for her to sing in. I went to bed thinking she probably wouldn’t wear it in the end,” recalls Takeda. “In the morning I woke up to seeing pictures of Björk on the internet wearing my headpiece. That was the most rewarding moment for me.”

Here are some photos of Takeda assembling one of her headdresses.

taikeda_1photos by Dan Whilton for mb | click to enlarge






source: mb! magazine | ignant | Maiko Takeda

September 30, 2013   2 Comments

Japanese Tattoo Stockings

I noticed this trend earlier in the year when I was in Tokyo: tattoo stockings. In a country where actual tattoos are staunchly frowned upon, some genius has figured out a way to let girls show off some ink without actually going under the needle for permanent work. The trend seems to have started back in late 2011 and then exploded in 2012. “We were selling 10,000 pair per month,” recalls Momo, who owns a small Avant-garde boutique in trendy Harajuku. “We even had to restrict customers from entering.”

Although the trend seems to have died down a bit, it’s still going strong, reports Tokyo Fashion Diaries, who has a round-up of some of this summer’s most popular tattoo stockings.


A collaboration between an online tights shop and Osaka-based pop-artist Buggy. Clockwise from left to right: hipster Kate Moss, Andy Warhol, cyborg Karl Lagerfeld and incarcerated John Galliano.



Boom Design / garakuta

Clockwise from left to right: scissors and ruler (perfect for DIYers?), mirrors, space invader hearts, party ornaments.




Simple geometric patterns. Oh, but the also make cat tights.






Why they decided to name their stock brand cowpoop (with 3 additional o’s) is a mystery.


Poem by Rabbit

Zodiac signs and origami.



July 5, 2013   1 Comment

The Art of Urban Decay | Eroded Bags by Yusuke Kagari

Yusuke Kagari (1)images courtesy yusuke kagari | click to enlarge

Whether it’s peeling paint, rusty rails, chipped concrete or graffiti-on-graffiti, for those who love the city, decay is the new vintage. It’s also an overarching theme in Yusuke Kagari’s bags and accessories. The designer, who collaborated with Keisuke Nagami in an exhibition last month, puts the same attention to detail into his pieces as any other designer. Except, instead of trying to make them look new, he tries to make them look 100 years old.

“Living in the city, in my eyes the continuity created by walls and concrete is one beautiful landscape,” said Kagari in a statement in Japanese.


Yusuke Kagari (3)Yusuke Kagari (2)

Yusuke Kagari (4)

The large junctions. The subway stations. The old town walls that that change color over time. The abandoned buildings. The factories. The colors of the walls on a rainy day. All the various landscapes. If only I could recreate it. If only I could carry them around with me. I think that’s what this is all about.

Simply put, each of Kagari’s pieces is a love letter to the city and all it’s beautiful cuts and bruises.

Yusuke Kagari (5)

Yusuke Kagari (6)

Yusuke Kagari (7)

Ruin: the fragrance. I desperately wonder what these smell like.

Yusuke Kagari (8)


March 20, 2013   Comments Off

The World of Roomy Fashion | A wearable kotatsu by Hatora

hatra - keisuke nagami (5)hatra - keisuke nagami (4)

hatra - keisuke nagami (6)images courtesy keisuke nagami

Up-and-coming fashion designer Keisuke Nagami and his clothing label Hatra are shaking up the Japanese fashion industry from the inside out. And I mean that quite literally. An antithesis to street fashion, he designs clothes around the concept of relaxing in a comfortable room. Taking inspiration from both otaku, anime and internet culture, Nagami creates clothes that you can wear outside, while still maintaining the comfort of being in your own room.

At an exhibition in Tokyo last month Nagami collaborated with bag designer Yusuke Kagari in an installation and pop-up shop where bags that look like walls and parkas that can be worn as rooms came together to form an ultimate abode of fashion. The centerpiece, however, was a large kotatsu – a traditional heated table that is a symbol of roomy warmth and comfort. But instead of simply slipping under the covers that rest upon the table, the cover is made from 4 large parkas stitched together. The piece was an epic wearable kotatsu, which warmed the hearts of visitors.

hatra - keisuke nagami (3)images courtesy changefashion

hatra keisuke nagami (1) hatra keisuke nagami (2)

hatra - keisuke nagami (7)hatra Collection 1.4

hatra - keisuke nagami (1)hatra Collection 1.4

hatra - keisuke nagami (2)hatra Collection 1.4


hatra - keisuke nagami (9)hatra Collection 1.3

hatra - keisuke nagami (10)hatra Collection 1.3


March 19, 2013   Comments Off

The Kyary Pamyu Pamuseum: Sugary-Sweet J-Pop Fashion Up Close

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu costumesimages by Angela for Spoon & Tamago | click to enlarge

J-Pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s costumes are on display this month at the Kyary Pamyu Pamuseum, a pop-up exhibition space located in Roppongi Hills. Visitors can rent audio guides, search for clues to solve a riddle, and pose with popular costumes from her music videos and concert tour.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu blogimage courtesy Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s blog | click to enlarge

One of Japan’s most visible Harajuku Girls, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s career started as a fashion blogger and model. She launched her music career in 2011 with PonPonPon and Tsukema Tsukeru and can now be seen on product advertisements plastered all over Tokyo. Her most recent single, Fashion Monster, is an adept description of her style.

Was that a shower of alien monster vomit? I think I know how he feels.

Despite the fact the Kyary Pamyu Pamuseum is mostly fluff — I’m talking crinoline skirts and a lack of any real depth — it is amusing nonetheless. I enjoyed the chance for an up-close inspection of Kyary’s avant-garde style and how these garments are constructed. Fans who visit also get the chance to step into their idol’s shoes. Even big girls like to play dress-up once in a while.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu toastimages courtesy Warner Music Japan and Angela for Spoon & Tamago | click to enlarge

March 12, 2013   Comments Off

Creative Team THIRD HANDS Transforms Trash to Treasure

Second-Hand clothing may be the darling of hipsters in Tokyo (and abroad) but the creative team THIRD HANDS is taking it up a notch. Using their crafty skills they breathe new life into discarded items by altering them into something completely new.

third hands pass the baton (8)Baseball bat necklace

At an upcoming exhibition titled “Make Drama,” the team will debut their brand new collection of sportswear that has been altered into fashion items like shoes, hand bags and necklaces. The exhibition will be held at Pass The Baton (a trendy vintage shop in its own right) in Omotesando from 02.09.2013 – 02.24.

third hands pass the baton (7)Tennis racket bag

third hands pass the baton (6)Judo uniform shoes

And here’s a look at a few items from last year’s collection:

third hands pass the baton (2) third hands pass the baton (1)

third hands pass the baton (4)

third hands pass the baton (3)




January 30, 2013   Comments Off

kyary pamyu pamyu’s Halloween music video is all kinds of awesome

Japan’s in vogue pop princess kyary pamyu pamyu (often dubbed the Lady Gaga of Japan) released a new single last week and it’s all kinds of Halloween-inspired awesome. “Fashion Monster” as a track itself isn’t bad and the styling is fantastic. I’m especially liking her hairdo (above).

And kyary is certainly capitalizing one her new video. She’s teamed up with g.u. (UNIQLO’s cheaper sibling) to do an ad spot. She’s also released a bundle of cell-phone wallpapers and ringtones that you can get through mu-mo.

October 24, 2012   3 Comments

Ayami Nishimura x Rankin | when photography and make-up meets art

Through November 9th, Diesel Art Gallery in Shibuya is presenting “Make up” – the work of Ayami Nishimura, captured by English photographer Rankin. Well known for his fashion photography, which includes a wide range of celebrities, Rankin’s work enters a territory of expressionism as it collides with the vivid work of Ayami.

Ayami Nishimura is a self-made woman, born in Japan but attracted to the US and Europe. She developed a very unique style that is both colorful and pictorial; surprising and beautiful. It’s no wonder that she counts among her clients Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue!

Ayami transforms the skin into a living canvas in which she sculpts her colors. Her make-up is not intended to enhance a face or a body. Rather, it creates new patterns to reshape and reconfigure the body. I love the last picture in how it resembles a work of Picasso, playing with lights and giving new dimension to the face. The imagination of Ayami seems unlimited as it pushes the viewer to swim between a candy-world full of primary and acid colors. It creates an erotic world that harkens back to the original intent of make-up: seduction.

Below, a video of Ayami at work:

source: Metropolis

October 15, 2012   Comments Off