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If there is one country that serves as a big source of inspiration for John Galliano, that country would probably be Japan. His shows are always historical and cultural; among some of his themes have been ancient Egypt, Victorian-era England, and Native American culture, but Japan is one that occasionally recurs in his shows. Whether it’s as blatant as a kimono or as subtle as kabuki-inspired makeup (courtesy of Pat McGrath), Galliano’s pieces have always had touches of Japanese culture infused to them. Three of the his most memorable Japonais shows include his Fall/Winter 1994-1995 collection from his own label, and two collections from his tenure at Christian Dior, Spring/Summer 2003 Haute Couture and Spring/Summer 2007 Haute Couture. John Galliano F/W ‘94-’95 Poetic, romantic, erotic, and exotic are some adjectives used to describe this collection. Kimonos and obi-belts with flower embroideries were clear Japanese influences. The fabrics consisted of black…

Dover Street Market is more than just a concept-store, it is a space for artistic eclecticism. What sets Dover Street Market apart from most department stores is the unrestrained creativity it harbors. Art installations are displayed alongside designer clothing making it seem more like an art gallery than a boutique. The store is described by its owner, Rei Kawakubo – the designer behind Comme des Garçons – as an “ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos,” and this impression becomes clear as soon as you step into the store. Previously the Komatsu Department Store from 1946, this revamped six-story building is a blank canvas for creatives to exhibit their work. Without the clothing racks and the artworks, the building would only be comprised of empty white rooms. All of the artists displaying their work inside Dover Street Market were picked by Kawakubo herself. Among the installations are “Pulse” by Kyoto-based Kohei Nawa,…

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…

Jardin Majorelle in Rue Yves Saint Laurent is not a sight to be missed when you’re in Marrakech, Morocco. Translated as the “Majorelle Garden”, the space also includes the Villa Oasis and the Musée Berbère. Owned by French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s, the garden continues to exist today as one of Marrakech’s most beautiful attractions. Designed by architect Paul Sinoir in 1931, the villa’s design is a fusion of cubism and Moorish-inspired architecture. Moorish motifs can be observed in the arches, the tiles, and the intricate patterns in some areas of the villa. The exterior is enveloped in its signature electric-blue shade, trademarked as Majorelle Blue. In 1937, Majorelle began to paint the villa, the gates, the pots, and the tiles with this specific tint of blue. This vibrant shade is said to evoke Africa through the color’s strength and intensity. This garden is a momentous task, to…

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…