Saturday, July 16, 2011

I’m still on about Yohji Yamamoto. Bear with me.

The creative process is something that interests me and I learn a lot from other creative “industries” – especially fashion.

In terms of creativity, I like that there is no model; no template. What works once may never work again. What worked for a while may, one day, stop being useful and productive. It’s constant invention and reinvention.

As Richard Branson says in his book “Business Stripped Bare”, regarding the definition of a successful business, “There are no rules … and it runs away screaming at the first sign of bullet points.” That may be true of all forms of creativity and artistic endeavour - despite efforts to systematise, package and sell it for business purposes (innovation in business; creativity in the workplace etc.)

But there is, nevertheless, often a process – a ritual – a routine – that undergirds the creative ebb and flow. It seems to be personal and related to the artist’s own practice and personality.

In Yohji Yamamoto’s case I read, “An almost ceremonial air surrounds every step of … (the) design process.”

That sounds like a very Japanese thing to me but I still find it inspiring in terms of my own culture and beliefs.

His clothing is often characterized by its use of washed, unironed fabrics, loose uncluttered forms, and dark colours. His “+Noir” collection is predominantly black (obviously) with splashes of colour.


Well, watch this excellent video (it’s only a couple of minutes) to see the man at work and hear him talk a little about his design philosophy.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

There’s an exhibition I wanted to see at the Victoria and Albert Museum but it closes tomorrow. I should have got my act together.

It’s a retrospective exhibition of the work of the Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto.

A good thing nowadays about some exhibitions is that you don’t have to attend them in person. With this one, I read the book in Cardiff Library; I read articles in Vogue and other publications; I’ve seen the amazing photographs by Nick Knight and others; I’ve visited the website and followed developments and feedback on Twitter.

I’m fascinated not only by the work but by the way in which it has been displayed.

The exhibition is not confined to one room but is spread is spread throughout the museum. Mannequins dressed in the designer’s clothes look out of windows, inhabit corridors and mix with Renaissance sculptures.

As the curator explained, “The idea was almost to have Yohji and the V & A in conversation.”

Someone else said, “Yohji Yamamoto’s retrospective … is full of surprises.”

I’ve been thinking about framing and displaying art and I like the idea of exhibiting it in such a way that viewers encounter different pieces in different settings; they are surprised by it; they engage in a conversation about it.

The V & A website is amazing and well worth a look:
Follow exhibition curator, Ligaya Salazar, as she documents the evolution of the exhibition and offers an insight into the research, design and installation process.”

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