Japanese Fashion at SAM

Seattle Art Museum explores the explosive creativity of contemporary Japanese fashion
SAM Japanese fashion
Japanese design at SAM: Junya Watanabe

When you think about it, Western fashion, with its focus on conforming to the predictable curves of the human body, designs itself into a box, as it were. With the exception of the audacious Alexander McQueen, most designers base their work on a woman’s hourglass shape (or often, a stick-straight version of it) and the body’s bilateral symmetry. But Japanese fashion, particularly since the 1970s, blows the lid off that box by embracing an orchestrated cacophony of pleating, asymmetry, deconstruction, peculiar shapes and unexpected textiles. This sartorial revolution is on display in Seattle Art Museum’s new exhibit, Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion, curated by Akiko Fukai (director and chief curator of the esteemed Kyoto Costume Institute) and featuring more than 100 innovative and often bombastic outfits by a host of designers, including Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe and Yohji Yamamoto. You may never look at your little black dress the same way again. 6/27–9/8. SAM, 1300 First Ave.; 206.625.8900; seattleartmuseum.org


Rei Kawakubo






















Kosuke Tsumura





















Yohji Yamamoto