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Japan's chic revolution comes to Textile Museum
Jun '09
The Textile Museum's fall 2009 exhibition, Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Collection of Mary Baskett, will pull visitors into the fashion revolution begun by top Japanese designers Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo through the display of these dynamic garments from the wardrobe and collection of Mary Baskett.

Baskett, an art dealer and former curator at the Cincinnati Art Museum, collected these iconic pieces that showcase the asymmetry, raw edges, unconventional construction, oversized proportions, high-tech fabrics and monochromatic palettes that characterize these designers.

Seemingly commonplace in high fashion today, these eccentric and transformative aesthetics were born out of the Japanese designs that rocked the fashion world in the '80s and gave the Western concept of chic a make-over. Contemporary Japanese Fashion will be on view October 17, 2009 – April 11, 2010, and is guest curated by Cynthia Amnéus, Curator of Fashion Arts and Textiles at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

The Designers
The three fashion designers most collected by Baskett, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo, shocked the industry when they introduced their work to the West in the early 1980s. Their circle of influence began with those designers working closely with their studios, but spread globally, influencing the entire international fashion scene.

Issey Miyake is best known for his innovative pleated garments introduced in the late 1980s, but his body of work is far more eclectic. Miyake has always been committed to making clothes that are easy to wear and adjustable on the body. He believes that those who wear his clothing are partners in the design process.

Like Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto is famous for creating designs far removed from current trends. Yamamoto's spare, monochromatic garments are outstanding examples of cut and craftsmanship. His designs are recognized as timeless classics with a twist.

Rei Kawakubo, perhaps the most iconoclastic of the designers represented in Baskett's collection, is founder of the Comme des Garçons label. Known for her deconstructed garments, sometimes lacking a sleeve or other component, Kawakubo's designs are frequently the most challenging. Her looks are different every season, often originating from abstract concepts that result in clothing that is both eccentric and beautiful.

Mary Baskett
Born in Binghamton, New York, and holding a Master's degree in Far Eastern art history, Mary Baskett's frequent travels to Asia brought her into contact with the contemporary Japanese fashion she loves. While curator of prints at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Baskett continued her travels and her collection of Japanese-designed garments by quickly grew.

In 1977, she opened the Mary Baskett Gallery to showcase her collection of Asian art, which includes hundreds of objects from Asia and emphasizes Japanese fashion and contemporary photography. Baskett continues to speak and write about Japanese art and artists, and has graciously lent these outstanding pieces from her wardrobe and collection to The Textile Museum.

The Textile Museum

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