The late fashion designer, Kansai Yamamoto, on dealing with David Bowie

Lasts week, we lost renowned progressive fashion designer, Kansai Yamamoto. Yamamoto is best understood for this long-lasting partnership with David Bowie, especially the outfits for the Martian rocker’s Ziggy Stardust tour.

On the Fashion United website, there’s a piece about the 2018 Brooklyn Museum evening with Yamamoto, done in support of the David Bowie Is show.

Here, Yamamoto describes his collaboration with Bowie:

” Unlike me, Bowie was peaceful, shy, however on stage he flips a switch and becomes David Bowie,” says Yamamoto. “Me, I’m constantly that way.” But they shared a love of what the designer calls “extreme appearance,” and when asked what they learned from each other, he replies that through Bowie he established his understanding of Western dress while he assisted Bowie interpret Eastern clothing. He agrees that he sees a direct line between what he created in the 70 s for Bowie and the existing conversation on gender and gown. “I approached Bowie’s clothes as if I was designing for a female,” he confesses. “Notification there is no zipper in front.” He feels proud seeing how the younger generation attending the “David Bowie Is” display can reveal themselves when compared to the societal restrictions he came across in Japan 50 years ago, as a self-taught, broke, designer releasing his career at the age of21 A professional photographer had snapped a photo of him strolling along London’s Kings Roadway and it was featured on the cover of Life magazine. “I felt every day I was the model in a fashion show and everyone around me were members of the audience,” he states. “There were often times, individuals looked at me unusual.”

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Images: FashionUnited and FaceMePLS (CC BY 2.0)

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