"Contrary to popular belief, clothes are not practical and dress is not necessary. Thomas Carlyle’s Professor Teufelsdröckh told us in the mid-nineteenth century that ‘The first purpose of clothes was not warmth or decency, but ornament… among wild people we find tattooing and painting even prior to clothes’...‘human history is not the history of flesh and bone and blood, but a mere chronicle of costumes’.

Opening next month at The Barbican in London is Future Beauty, a major survey of avant-garde Japanese fashion from the last 30 years, curated by fashion historian and Kyoto Costume Institute Director, Akiko Fukai. Organised around four themes – blackness and shadows; flatness and form; tradition and innovation; street style and popular culture – the exhibition will explore the unique sensibilities of Japanese fashion since the early 1980s when Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto proposed a radically new fashion aesthetic."

1. Isabella Blow in Hiroaki Ohya. Spring/Summer 2000. Photograph by Mika Ninagawa.
2. Rei Kawakubo/ Comme des Garçons. 1995, 1983.

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