BBC: David Bowie’s love affair with Japanese style

A man walks past a 3D wall portrait of British musician David Bowie, created by Australian street artist James Cochran, also known as Jimmy C, in Brixton, South London, on 19 June 2013. The artwork is based on the iconic cover for Bowies 1973 album, Aladdin Sane.
The iconic Ziggy Stardust look has been immortalized in a piece of street art in Brixton

BBC:

David Bowie, who died this week, was a well-known Japanophile, adopting many elements of Japanese culture into his stage performances.

He was someone who knew how to express himself both with music and with fashion,” Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto told the BBC.

Someone like that may not be so rare these days, but he was one of the pioneers to do both.

Make-up artist Pierre La Roche prepares English singer David Bowie for a performance as Aladdin Sane, 1973. Bowie is wearing a costume by Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto.Yamamoto designed for Bowie through both his Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane eras

Mr Yamamoto, the creative force behind some of Bowie’s most iconic stage outfits, first got to know Bowie in the 1970s, when the singer was often visiting Japan, and trying to break into the US market.

I don’t know why he was so attracted to things Japanese, but perhaps it wasn’t so much Japan or Japanese-ness itself. He knew when he looked good in something.

“When you wear something and you look really good… you feel confident and good about yourself. I think my designs and costumes had that effect on him.”

Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto waves to the audience after his fashion event 'super energy !!' in Tokyo on June 12, 2015.
Kansai Yamamoto said his relationship with Bowie “went beyond nationalities, beyond gender”

Helene Thian, a fashion historian and lifelong fan who has written extensively about Bowie, agreed. She said Bowie had often been noted as having had “this beautiful androgynous face and body, which suited Kansai Yamamoto’s unisex style”.

‘Shapeshifting’ androgyny

Bowie’s Japanese style had already been developing through his interest in Japanese theatre.

In the mid-1960s, he studied dance with Lindsay Kemp, a British performance and mime artist who was heavily influenced by the traditional kabuki style, with its exaggerated gestures, elaborate costumes, striking make-up, and “onnagata” actors – men playing female roles.

Lindsay Kemp performs in 1974
Lindsay Kemp, performing here in 1974, had been influenced by the intensely stylized productions of Japanese traditional theatre
20th October 1981: Ennosuke Ichikawa, Japan's most distinguished exponent of the three hundred year old art form, Kabuki. Ichikawa prepares his costume and make up before leading a prestigious cast at Sadler's Wells.The dramatic makeup used by kabuki became part of the Ziggy Stardust look

Bowie was a natural “shapeshifter“, says Ms Thian, and his training with Kemp and onnagata style helped him as he explored ideas of masculinity, exoticism and alienation.

He even learned from famed onnagata Tamasaburo Bando how to apply traditional kabuki make-up – its bold highlighted features on a white background are evident in the lightning bolt across the Ziggy face.

It wasn’t trying to be literal interpretation” of onnagata, said Ms Thian, “but rather inspired by its gender-bending androgyny. That’s what makes it so powerful, it’s more evocative.”

‘Quick change’ master

Mr Yamamoto said he wasn’t sure why he and Bowie had such an affinity, but that “something resonated between us, something that went beyond nationalities, beyond gender“.

Through his style and performances, he said, Bowie “broke one sexual taboo after another“.

What he did in terms of bridging the male-female gap continues to this day,” he said, including in the increasing acceptance of gay relationships in Japan.

Among his most famous outfits for Bowie was Space Samurai, a black, red and blue outfit adapting the hakama, a type of loose trousers which samurais wore and which are still worn by martial arts practitioners.

This picture taken on February 27, 2015 shows a costume created by Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto and used by David Bowie, during a press preview of an exhibition dedicated to the British singer at the Philarmonie in ParisYamamoto’s outlandish costumes became a central element of Bowie performances
An outfit worn by musician David Bowie is displayed at the 'David Bowie is' exhibition at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum in central London on 30 March 2013
The dramatic cape could be whipped away on stage mid-performance

He also sometimes wore a kimono-inspired cape with traditional Japanese characters on it which spell out his name phonetically, but also translate to “fiery vomiting and venting in a menacing manner“.

Ms Thian says Bowie was also “absolutely the first” Western artist to employ the hayagawari – literally “quick change” – technique from kabuki, says Ms Thian, with unseen stagehands ripping off the dramatic cape on stage to reveal another outfit.

David Bowie performs his final concert in 1973 as Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon, London. The concert later became known as the Retirement Gig
The kimono robe also influenced some of his fashion, such as this Ziggy outfit which is a shortened version with a classic Japanese print on it
A costume designed by Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto for David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust character is display at the Victoria and Albert museums' new major exhibition, 'British Design 1948-2012: Innovation In The Modern Age' on 28 March 2012 in London, England.
The elaborate clash of prints on this knitted bodysuit can also be seen as a reference to yakuza (organized crime syndicates) tattoo patterns, Helene Thian has written

‘A very beautiful man’

It wasn’t just his appearance – references to Japan are scattered through Bowie’s music – his 1977 album Heroes even features the track Moss Garden on which he plays a Japanese koto, a kind of zither.

These days, an artist in Bowie’s position might be accused of cultural appropriation – stealing another culture for his own purposes – but Ms Thian says it was never seen that way in Japan.

David Bowie performing in his 'Angel of Death' costume at a live recording for a Midnight Special TV show made at The Marquee Club in London to a specially invited audience of Bowie fanclub members in 1973
Bowie often wore androgynous or women’s clothing in his Ziggy Stardust phase

Bowie was born to be the ultimate diplomat and artiste,” she says.

He took his creativity and fused it with his impulses to meld East and West and come up with a healing of the world in this post-war period.

This was “a homage to Japanese culture and the Japanese loved it“, she said, as Bowie challenged the tendency of Western fashion at the time to lump all Asian styles together as “Orientalism“.

‘Eternal hero’

Indeed, Japan embraced Bowie back, and he remains an icon there, with his glam rock style influencing generations of bands and musicians.

Photo of Hotei Tomayasu playing with David Bowie onstage at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo in 1996
Hotei shared with the BBC this photo of them playing onstage together at Bowie’s 1996 Tokyo gig

Renowned rock guitarist Hotei Tomayasu, best known outside Japan for composing the theme for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films, told the BBC: “[Bowie] is the one who truly changed my life. My eternal hero and inspiration.

Bowie is also known in Japan for his role as Maj Jack Celliers in the 1983 iconic film Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, directed by the renowned Nagisa Oshima.

The film, set during World War Two in a Japanese camp for prisoners, pits Bowie’s character and another soldier against two Japanese officers, one of whom is played by the famous musician Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Tweet by Miu Sakamoto recalling her meeting with Bowie when she was a little girl, 11 January 2015

On Twitter, Sakamoto’s ex-wife Akiko Yano recalled how Bowie carried their young daughter – Miu – on his shoulders when the family visited the Roppongi neighborhood in Tokyo with Bowie in the 1980s.

Miu Sakamoto tweeted this picture of herself as a little girl shaking hands with the singer, saying she vaguely recalled meeting “a very beautiful man“.

(He is) no more. A world in which David is not living still feels totally unreal.

Reveal your inner fashion samurai with traditional clothes for the modern world

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RocketNews 24 (by KK Miller):

For their 10th anniversary, Wazigen Shizukuya is providing gorgeous modern hakama and yukata styles for all the men.

Hakama, yukata and kimono may be the traditional clothing of Japan, but there’s no reason that you can’t wear and enjoy them every day. Wazigen Shizukuya opened its doors in 2005 with the goal of combining original, innovative styles with traditional Japanese men’s clothing for the modern world. Whether it is a casual weekend outfit, something to wear to work or clothes for a formal occasion, Shizukuya has just the look for you.

Since this year marks their 10th anniversary, they are offering a limited special collection of hakama and yukata arranged in 10 beautiful and striking styles. Even on mannequins, the outfits display a classy, timeless appeal that anyone could envision themselves wearing next Monday morning.

▼Style 1 : Leather Hakama, “Godzilla Leather”. These pants look just like the kaiju’s skin.

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▼ Leather Hakama, “Orochi Leather”. An outfit you just can’t look away from, either out of fear or because it’s so gaudy.

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▼ Style 2: Feel the Wind, Tayori”. This sytle is simple, refined and elegant and all wrapped in a garment light enough to feel the wind and the sun.

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▼ Feel the Wind, “Kairoh”. The mix of various geometric shapes, colors and paisley designs give the impression of the Silk Road.

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▼ Feel the Wind, “Kage E”. The vivid green undershirt paired with the see-thru black shirt evokes memories of kage-e or “shadow pictures”.

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▼ Style 3: Yukata, “Nazca”. Decorated with ancient Peru drawings, this yukata is a brilliant mix of ancient times with simplicity and elegance.

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▼ Yukata, “Asura”. The silhouette of the powerful demigod is a bold feature on this simple, two-toned yukata.

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▼ Style 4: Openwork Mantle, “Kaiko”. The colors and weave create the impression of a silkworm emerging from its cocoon.

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▼ Openwork Mantle, “Kaheroh”. This piece is designed after mayflies and their brief and fleeting lives.

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▼ Openwork Mantle, “Hotaru”. This is the manliest of the mantles and would look dashing with Japanese wear or a Western suit.

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▼ Style 5: Casino Royale, “Specter”. Perfect for those long fall nights, it has patterns straight out of the beginning of a James Bond movie.

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▼ Casino Royale, “Beautiful Targets”. The countless pure white threads and argyle patterned pants accentuate this gorgeous outfit.

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▼ Casino Royale, “For Your Eyes Only”. The contrast of bold red and brown leaves a passionate impression.

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▼ Casino Royale, “Never Say Never Again”. The showy yet tasteful arrangement of colors creates a look that says “license to kill”.

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▼ Style 6: Wazi-Hasode, “Tomorrow Never Die”. An extension to  the 5th style of clothing, this look will guarantee you have everyone’s attention no matter where you are. Perhaps it’s not a great spy outfit…

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▼ Wazi-Hasode, “Erased License”. Whether paired with hakama or a suit, people won’t be able to keep their eyes off you.

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Wazigen Shizukuya promises to reveal four more styles before the end of the year, but judging by what they’ve come up with so far, their new outfits are going to pair sophistication with traditional clothing in a fine, stylish design. For those of you who know nothing about traditional Japanese clothing, why not just let Wazigen Shizukuya choose your next outfit? You’ll quickly be known as the “samurai” of your group of friends when you start dressing in these fantastic options.

Source: Japaaan Magazine

Timeless beauty: Color video of 1930s Kyoto shows how women of the day got their hair done

PF

RocketNews 24:

There’s something almost magical about old videos. They’re like looking through a magic mirror with bad reception into the past. It kind of makes you wonder what people in a few hundred years will have to say about our Vine videos.

But even better than old videos, are old color videos! They’re probably as close to time travel as we’ll ever come. Take this lovely video of Kyoto from 1934 for example. Though it’s not the oldest color video in existence, this video still manages to captivate us with its depiction of mageyui, the process of putting one’s hair up into one of the traditional mage hair styles.

Though this video has been online for several years, it’s been capturing attention online again recently, and it’s easy to see why. Recorded in 1934, this color video starts with a few scenes of Kyoto’s natural beauty, including cherry trees and a river, in addition to several women in kimono and mage hairstyles.

Mage are the many different traditional hairstyles of Japan, such as the shimada mageand kase mage. But the majority of the video is actually about mageyui, the process of putting one’s hair into a mage style.

▼ A few different mage styles for women from Japanese history

mage

Sadly, these days you’re not likely to see anyone running around with a traditional mageoutside of certain formal events, though that doesn’t make them any less fascinating. Of course, one of the most interesting things about mage isn’t the finished product so much as the whole process!

So, if you’ve ever wondered how people get their hair just right, you’ll definitely want to check out this video. The hairstyling gets started about a minute and a half in, but the first 90 seconds are hardly a waste of your time.

visvim (Japan) 2015 Fall/Winter Preview

3.1 Phillip Lim 2015 Spring/Summer New Arrivals

Yusuke Seki designs second Otsuka Gofukuten Kimono store

Image of Yusuke Seki Designs Second Otsuka Gofukuten Kimono Store

 

After the successful restoration of a 70-year-old building for the first Otsuka-Gofukuten flagship store, interior designer Yusuke Seki, who embraces simplicity and practicality, designs the second branch based within a shopping mall in the heart of Kobe city. Seki created a very clean organic appearance for the space with functional properties to reflect the comparisons with Kimono. Such as, the shelves specifically designed in a three step, high-mid-low, price display system to represent the differing tiers of Kimono.

The overall display unit materials are made to stand out from the softness and sophistication of the clothing fabric. Making the most of this smaller, limited space, his design approach expresses a flexible and genuine understand of the brand and its cultural background.

 

Image of Yusuke Seki Designs Second Otsuka Gofukuten Kimono Store

Image of Yusuke Seki Designs Second Otsuka Gofukuten Kimono Store

Image of Yusuke Seki Designs Second Otsuka Gofukuten Kimono Store

Image of Yusuke Seki Designs Second Otsuka Gofukuten Kimono Store

Image of Yusuke Seki Designs Second Otsuka Gofukuten Kimono Store

Image of Yusuke Seki Designs Second Otsuka Gofukuten Kimono Store

Image of Yusuke Seki Designs Second Otsuka Gofukuten Kimono Store

Image of Yusuke Seki Designs Second Otsuka Gofukuten Kimono Store

Image of Yusuke Seki Designs Second Otsuka Gofukuten Kimono Store

 

KICKS LAB (Japan) x PUMA First Round Lo KL “NISHIJIN”

Image of KICKS LAB x PUMA First Round Lo KL "NISHIJIN"

 

Having last seen a collaborative drop from these two back in 2013, Japanese retailer KICKS LAB and PUMA reunite to release the First Round Lo KL “NISHIJIN.”

Made in Japan as a homage to Nishijin, a district in Kyoto famous for intricately-crafted kimonos, this particular capsule combines lush suede leather and a delicate kimono fabric with floral patterns making up the Formstrip.

Available in your choice of gold or silver accents, cop a pair a KICKS LAB.

 

Image of KICKS LAB x PUMA First Round Lo KL "NISHIJIN"

Image of KICKS LAB x PUMA First Round Lo KL "NISHIJIN"

Image of KICKS LAB x PUMA First Round Lo KL "NISHIJIN"

Image of KICKS LAB x PUMA First Round Lo KL "NISHIJIN"

 

visvim (Japan) LHAMO SHIRT (FLUX P.W.) *F.I.L. EXCLUSIVE

Image of visvim LHAMO SHIRT (FLUX P.W.) *F.I.L. EXCLUSIVE

As part of its expansive 2014 spring/summer collection visvim has release the LHAMO SHIRT (FLUX P.W.). Drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese kimono cuts and classic workwear designs, the shirt is made from a blend of cotton and linen patchwork fabric and undergone a natural dye process which gives off its unique look. Other design elements include a waist-tie and aluminum buttons at the cuffs.

Available in green, blue and purple, the LHAMO SHIRT is priced at $710 USD and can be found at visvim’s *F.I.L. retailers and its online store.

 

Link

New J-drama ‘Kol Kimono’: Brought to you from…Thailand!

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

Elegant kimono, cascading wisteria blossoms and the stunning scenery of Kyushu, Japan’s most southwesterly island. If this sounds like an archetypal scene from the land of the rising sun, you’d be half right – new dramaKol Kimono, which hits TV screens in December, is definitely set in Japan. But you won’t find it broadcast there just yet – only in Thailand!

In Thailand, interest in Japanese culture is at an all-time high. Thanks in part to relaxed visa regulations, the number of Thai visitors to Japan has doubled in the last three years. The new primetime drama, which started filming on location in Kyushu last week, also stars Thongchai “Bird” McIntyre, one of Thailand’s biggest names, in his first leading role in 17 years.

 

▼ Thongchai McIntyre, king of Thai pop.

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Entitled Kol Kimono, the 24-part drama is described as a romance with fantasy elements. As you might expect from a plot described as “a cross between Romeo and Juliet and tanabata [a Japanese festival held in July, which has its origins in a story of star-crossed lovers]”, the story revolves around two feuding families.

BEC Group, Thailand’s biggest TV broadcasting company, says the show will be “the highest-class drama in Thai history”. They certainly seem to be pulling out all the stops, with an unprecedented high budget for a drama, and 80 percent of the filming taking place in Kyushu, Japan. Hoping that tourists are inspired to visit the locations shown in the drama will be business-owners in Imari, Ureshino and Takeo cities in Saga Prefecture, which are said to have been used for key scenes.

 

▼ Lead character Hoshi’s name even means “star” in Japanese. Because they’re star-crossed lovers, right?

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To coincide with the show’s first broadcast in December this year, events in Bangkok are being planned, including a kimono fashion show and the opportunity for visitors to try on kimono. There’s no news yet of an international release date, but we’re certainly intrigued by this new drama’s concept and set-up. It’s been given a Japanese title, too (Kimono Hiden, meaning “kimono mystery” or “secrets of kimono”), so we’re looking forward to finding out what Japan makes of its depiction in a Thai drama!

 

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The cast and crew are in Japan from May 14 for the start of filming, as well as for press conferences and some slightly less conventional events, including “praying for the show to be a hit”

 

Check out this link:

 

New J-drama ‘Kol Kimono’: Brought to you from…Thailand!