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Rei Kawakubo is an architect whose medium consists of fabrics and the human body, instead of building materials and space. Her creations are not merely “fashion” but are reinterpretations of the relationship between clothing and the body, choosing to use fashion as an extension to the human form, or vice versa. Despite the fact that she owns a clothing company and still showcases her work regularly during Paris Fashion Week, she regards her work as Gesamtkunstwerk, or a “total work of art,” since the boundaries of the word “fashion” is too constrictive of Kawakubo’s creations. Spring/Summer 1997 Collection: “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body” Kawakubo has evolved throughout her career that spans more than 30 years. Although she began with deconstruction, her Spring/Summer 1997 collection heralded a new era for Comme des Garçons, as the succeeding collections were louder and held narratives regarding femininity, sexuality, and the female form. The video…

Issey Miyake doesn’t consider himself solely as a fashion designer. True enough, Miyake’s work encompasses various fields of design. His contributions to design don’t come from his concepts and ideas alone, but also in his innovative use of textiles and materials. Miyake’s design philosophy lies in the principle of a “‘Piece of Cloth,’ a concept which explores not only the relationship between the body and clothing, but also the space that is born between them.” He constantly experimented on the way the clothes moved in relation to the human body. The silhouettes of his clothing can often shape the wearer or be shaped by the wearer. Some pieces have drapey silhouettes with fluid fabrics that bounce, crease, or stretch depending on the wearer, making each piece look different on various body types; some take on the shapes of cocoons or thorns  (among other things), and can be further manipulated depending…

Many of the things that we have now and take for granted are a result of cultural exchange.  Food, religion, and design are being transformed because of influences from one part of the world to another. Culture is a fluid concept that constantly evolves; it is not something static that strictly comes from one source. People began sharing their culture and taking from others as early as the first civilizations in the Middle East. The post-war era of the 50s and 60s saw a re-emergence of cross-cultural influences in the arts. In the world of fashion, this was heralded by the legendary French-Algerian designer Yves Saint Laurent. Yves Saint Laurent 2002 Haute Couture Retrospective Sub-Saharan Africa Yves Saint Laurent left the fashion world in awe after his Spring/Summer collection of 1967. Influenced by the tribes of Sub-Saharan African, he incorporated wooden beads, raffia (a type of palm tree native to Central Africa), bangles, and traditional…

The world of fashion design has been a male-dominated industry since the early 20th century. Even though women are the market, a lot of prominent designers in history have been male, and this trend still continues up to now. Ask anyone to name famous fashion designers or houses and most likely they will mention these male designers: [Christian] Dior, [Yves] Saint Laurent, [Cristobal] Balenciaga, [Hubert de] Givenchy, etc. Among women, most people can probably only think of Coco Chanel, or more often than not, they could know brands such as Lanvin but would be unaware of Jeanne Lanvin, the female designer who started the brand. There’s nothing wrong with men designing clothes for women, but it’s quite strange that female designers have been sidelined in an industry aimed towards women. The industry has been slowly changing, with notable female designers like Diane Von Furstenburg, Donatella Versace, and Carolina Herrera making a name for themselves on…