Laura Dimitrio has recently published her latest work entitled NON SOLO KIMONO. Edited by Skira this book has been written by a very committed scholar into the study of fashion. A major text with numerous reference points and sources to understand how traditional and then contemporary garments have influenced Italian fashion.
In the 60/70s, I was the Art Director of Vogue Italia, always aiming for the next level, even beyond the fashion world. I was always present at the fashion shows in Rome, Milan, Paris, mainly. In almost every case, I experienced and saw the beginning of and the journey to success of the stylists who later became icons for the fashion of the time. In Paris, I had been following Kenzo, Issey Miyake, Yoshi Yamamoto since their debut on the fashion catwalks. Then, I also became friends with them.
Only after Kenzo hosted me and Giella in Hiseij, his hometown, for his 50th birthday, did I truly understand Japan. After a wonderful birthday celebration, I accompanied him on a journey through the Japan he loved. I will never forget this: I realised how his colorful fashion reflected a joy of life nourished by tradition and culture.
Issey Miyake is a sculptor who applies his research on fabric (his plissés were widely recognized) to enhance femininity in another way. Adding mystery. It is a hint of unexpected geometric shapes.
Yoshi Yamamoto has enhanced the magic and deep tradition by using a seemingly simple language that is deceptively challenging, resulting in a real fashion revolution. I always wear black and baggy clothes no matter the occasion, with a few creative touches of design that make them unique. A mix of Japanese and Western styles.
I have mentioned these three names as they spread their own message, each with its own peculiarity, although they share the same culture. I will never stop stating that fashion is culture, as it reflects the time and place in which we live, understanding who we are and why we dress and think differently. It happens with Japan as well as the rest of the countries in the world.
Ultimately, I was deeply struck by this book because Laura Dimitrio called the creators of Japanese fashion “fashion designers”. Japanese fashion industry as a whole did not begin with tailors, like it did in Europe for centuries, and was later reborn through fashion houses such as Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga, and Givenchy, which hit the fashion magazine headlines with their chic novelties after the period of the war and its deprivations. Parisian couturiers made little and sometimes shocking changes, but stayed true to its tailoring. Modern Japanese fashion designers did not abandon their traditions, instead they employed design to redraw and combine the way of dressing women.
Today, each fashion creator believes they are designers serving industries, not tailors. Japanese culture has influenced Western fashion in this sense, too. Starting from fashion, the Western world has conquered Japan in all fields at the same time. Globalization has indeed made the world become smaller and created hybrid and transversal cultural movements. The book illustrates this through images research and reflection, also giving us an insight into the modern world of the past four centuries.
During a talk between the author and Gisella Borioli on Tuesday 12 April from 18.30 at FlavioLucchiniArt Museum, the book will be presented.