David Bowie

R.I.P Kansai Yamamoto



David Bowie with Kansai Yamamoto 1973

R.I.P the Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto, who passed away after suffering from leukemia. He was brilliant, and his flamboyant style influenced other fashion designers throughout his career.

He himself was working until the end; in 2017, Nicolas Ghesquiere enlisted him to create new graphics for a Louis Vuitton Cruise show in Kyoto. An antidote to the sombre wabi-sabi style we usually think of as ‘Japanese’, his colourful basara aesthetic epitomises the escapism of 70s glam rock. As Alex Fury noted in 2017 (pay wall), that style movement was a welcome distraction from economic strife and political unrest. I wonder if we might see elements of basara come through post-COVID-19…?

My friend Graham Cassie, of the vintage showroom Cassie Mercantile shared this great Kansai Yamamoto story on his Instagram today…

“I had the pleasure of meeting him about 15 years ago in Tokyo at an event given by United Arrows to promote our exhibition in their flagship store. A homage to the 1980’s Buffalo movement in London. Kansai said to me “this exhibition is amazing, you must visit me at my studio tomorrow.” The next day we were met at the studio door by two guys dressed in black polo necks and taken up to his studio which overlooked the Imperial Palace. We spent the rest of Sunday watching films of Kansai’s exhibitions and studying clothing he had made for John Lennon and David Bowie. The first concert I attended age 13 was David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust at the Greens Playhouse in Glasgow which made a huge impression on me, so the whole afternoon was surreal and very memorable.”

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: David Bowie with Kansai Yamamoto 1973
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Everything Japan: J-Wellness, Terahaku, Yasuko Takahashi and more



David Bowie and stylist Yasuko Takahashi

With the Tokyo Olympics happening this summer, the spotlight is firmly on Japan.

For starters, I’m looking forward to the V&A’s Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk exhibition, which opens on 29th February. With its vast archives, this is the kind of exhibition the V&A does really well, time travelling from rare 17th and 18th century kimono to contemporary streetwear via Kawakubo and Galliano – that’s got be good!

Meanwhile, Sunspel is also feeling the Japan love this spring, collaborating with three contemporary Japanese brands – 45R, N.Hoolywood and Beams – on a capsule collection of men’s and womenswear. I like this 45R interpretation of the Sunspel Sun and Cloud logo, using an indigo dye cloud placement on a white cotton tee (below). All products will be available in Sunspel* shops and online from 7th March. (more…)



What’s on your reading list?



The World of Apartamento book
Continuing on last week’s #namastayinbed theme, we’ve reached peak hygge time of year, aka annual book-buying season. December and January are the only months of the year I get time to properly absorb myself in books, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into Sally Rooney’s Normal People and Michelle Obama’s Becoming. No spoilers please!

The rest of the year, I just accept I don’t have the attention span for deep absorption books. Instead I go for dip-in-able non-fiction stuff, which is probably why I like oral histories and diaries. I’m late to Tina Brown’s The Vanity Fair Diaries but it’s on my Christmas list, as is Uncovered: Revolutionary Magazine Covers – The Inside Stories Told by the People Who Made Them  (more…)



Books and Bowie at Louis Vuitton



David-bowie-bookshelf-Louis-Vuitton 6

Love books? Love Bowie? Love Vuitton? Here’s a treat for you then. Louis Vuitton has tapped David Bowie as its latest guest curator for its Curated Bookshelf. A secret gem in itself, the ‘Librarie’ can be found in the Louis Vuitton Maison in London’s New Bond Street, one of a number of Vuitton book stores that reflect different themes. (more…)