Japan and Fashion: Impact and Influence

Japan and Fashion: Impact and Influence

Monday, February 24, 2014 to Friday, March 28, 2014

Pre-exhibition event – A Dialogue with Elizabeth Wilsotextile expert and owner of Asiatica. February 20, 2014, at 5:00 p.m., room 11 Home Economics Building, sponsored by the Faculty Senate Convocations Committee

Public lecture by Jay Rich, Replicating and Referencing Japanese Textile Dyeing Processes, Thursday, March 20, 6:00 p.m., room 11 Home Economics Building, reception hosted by the Friends immediately follows on the second floor near the gallery

“Japan and Fashion: Influence and Impact” opens in the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery on Monday February 24, 2014. The exhibit, curated by Dr. Barbara Trout, features Japanese influenced garments from the Department of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design’s historic costume collection, along with traditional Japanese garments on loan for the exhibition.  The exhibit is devoted to the interface between traditional Japanese dress and contemporary Western fashion.  Over 18 traditional kimonos in various shapes and sizes are included, along with a significant collection of obis. This feature of the exhibit is due to a generous gift from Kathryn Ericksen Lohr, an alumna of the College of Education and Human Sciences, who lived in Tokyo with her husband James in the late 1980s and early 90s. While there she collected many kimonos and met renowned Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori, resulting in the inclusion of several Mori garments in the show. Mori was first in a line of important Japanese designers to gain entrance into the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisenne, making her first showing in Paris in1977.   The exhibit also includes an ornately embroidered wedding kimono that was acquired by the Thomas Woods family of Lincoln in the late 1970s and was donated to the collection by Averi Woods. Items from the collection of Omaha textile collector Jay Rich round out this unique exhibition. 

The works in the show are marked by brilliant colors, rich embroideries, elegant brocades and exotic patterns. The contemporary segment of the exhibition contains modern fashions that range from the conservative to the avant garde. Designers such as Ralph Rucci, Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo are represented. Japanese influence in contemporary fashion hinges on three distinct elements that are depicted in the exhibition.  First, viewers will see a critical regard for surface development of the textiles, ranging from intricate weave structures to shibori-dyed textiles to industry-driven high tech fabrics.  Second and no less important is the emphasis on fine craftsmanship. The high level of craft inherent in many forms of Japanese dress is seen in the hand stitching of the kimono and in embellishments that distinguish many of these garments. Finally, it was Japanese emphasis on structure that impressed itself on modern designers’ sensibilities as early as the 1880s.  In contrast to the Western approach of cutting and stitching fabric to echo the shape of the body, the Japanese aesthetic involved wrapping the fabric around the form to envelop the body.  The articulation of space between the fabric and the body distinguishes the kimono from Western garments. Other elements played out in contemporary fashion are the emphasis on the simple structural lines, the suggestion of the obi, the use of the large sleeve shape and the development of roomy silhouettes for anything from coats to jackets.

Complimentary events begin on February 20th with an invited lecture by Elizabeth Wilson, Japanese textile collector and owner of Asiatica, a specialty boutique in Kansas City. The lecture is sponsored by the University of Nebraska Faculty Senate Convocations Committee and will take place on Thursday, February 20th at 5:00 p.m. in Rm 11 of the Home Economics Building on East Campus. In conjunction with the exhibition Omahan Jay Rich, an expert in Japanese textile dyeing and an avid collector of Japanese kimono, will present a lecture entitled “Replicating and Referencing Japanese Textile Dyeing Processes.”  It takes place on March 20th, at 6:00 p.m. in room 11 of the Home Economics Building.  A reception sponsored by the Friends of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery will follow the lecture along with informal modeling of student designs inspired by Japanese fashion]The exhibit continues through March 28th, 2014.

 JapaneseExhibition-ImageCollage.jpg-Japanese Exhibition 2014

Top right: Hapi coat, navy cotton, origin Japan, acquired 1990, gift of Kathryn Lohr.  Bottom right: Haori (light weight coat), Shirbori dyed silk, acquired 1990, gift of Kathryn Lohr. Left: Silk formal Kimono, origin Japan, acquired 1990, gift of Kathryn Lohr.