Photos by Masayoshi Sukita
Bowie and Yamamoto
Jean-Paul Gaultier Spring/Summer 2013 Ready-to-wear collection
Kansai Yamamoto (山本 寛斎), born on February 8, 1944 in Yokohama, Japan, is one of the leaders in Japanese Contemporary fashion, in particular during the 1970s and 1980s.
After studying civil engineering and English at Nippon University ,got a so-en prise at Bunka Fashion College in 1967 .
Among the designers with whom he apprenticed are Junko Koshino and Hisashi Hosono; in 1971, he opened his own company, Yamamoto Kansai Company, Ltd., Tokyo. His first collection debuted in London in 1971 and in the USA at Hess’s Department Store in Allentown, Pennsylvania, which was renowned for many avant-garde collections. His 1975 debut in Paris was followed by the opening of his Kansai Boutique in 1977.
In 1999, he and Junko Koshino renewed the kimono, reviving interest in this classical fashion. He is also known for his avant-garde kimono designs, including ones worn by David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust Tour.
In 2008, an exhibit named Netsuki Shinten: Kansai Genki Shugi (or Passionate Exhibit: The Energy Principle of Kansai) was held at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. In 2009, a major retrospective of Yamamoto’s work was exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Yamamoto designed the Skyliner train, unveiled in 2010, that connects Japan’s Narita Airport with central Tokyo.
In July 2013, he made a comeback to the fashion industry with a showing in the 19th New Britain Mask Festival in Kokopo, Papua New Guinea.