As the Denver Art Museum’s past forays into the worlds of Yves Saint Laurent and Cartier have shown, high fashion looks as good in a gallery as it does on the runway, more than qualifying as functional works of art. That notion will get another boost with the arrival of Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s-90s, a new in-house exhibit examining the groundbreaking avant-garde designs of such stars as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawabuko of Comme des Garçons, Kansai Yamamoto, Yohji Yamamoto (no relation), Junya Watanabe and Kenzo Takada. Curated by Florence Müller, who also organized the YSL show and more recently joined the DAM as curator of textile art and fashion, this show is a look at how these designers deconstructed the shape of couture clothing while adhering to the simplicity of the Japanese aesthetic. It’s also a proud salute to the DAM’s own holdings.
“Shock Wave will introduce our visitors to the transformation of the museum’s textile and fashion collection, an initiative that is being spearheaded by Florence and focused on augmenting our holdings with contemporary works that expand the amazing design narratives we can present at our museum,” says DAM director Christoph Heinrich. “Florence has already begun this transformation by acquiring Japanese designer pieces that will be placed in new context in this upcoming exhibition, helping demonstrate the radical design processes that started defying convention in the ’80s.”
Explore a fashion revolution and its pop-culture reverberations: Shock Wave opens September 11 and runs through May 28 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway. The exhibit is included in the general admission price of $8 to $13 (those eighteen and under are always free). For more information, visit denverartmuseum.org.
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