Kansai Yamamoto (1944 – 2020) established his business in Tokyo in 1971. His theatrical references and exuberant designs — a Pop response to the West’s nineteenth century fascination with Japanese art — quickly became a favorite with youthful subcultures in London and New York.The designer’s most iconic works include psychedelic stage costumes for David Bowie, most notably his Ziggy Stardust persona. This flamboyant Bomber Jacket (1981) with vibrant colors and a boisterous Kabuki actor portrait motif echoes the bold, expressive compositions inspired by ukiyo-e prints. Yamamoto’s work exemplifies the hade aesthetic; a brazen, expressive or flashy style characteristic of Kabuki theater costumes, samurai fashions, and Yoshiwara (red-light district) garments worn by stylish courtesans.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art as Part of the Exhibit Kimono Style: The John C. Weber Collection, on View Through February 20th, 2023.