Fashion and Hybridity: Japanese Fashion in Europe in the 1980 to 90s

As part of our public programme for the exhibition Zaha’s Moonsoon: An Interior in Japan, renowned curator and writer on fashion Claire Wilcox (Professor of London College of Fashion and Oxford University Centre for Life Writing Fellow) was invited by the Zaha Hadid Foundation to discuss how Japan’s economic power in the 1980s coincided with its fashion becoming a desirable commodity in the West.

The talk centred on why Japanese street styles, subcultures and traditional clothes entered the western fashion vocabulary and became fixtures on the Parisian catwalks, with a significant impact for the years to come. Claire focused in particular on the reception and influence of the work of Japanese designers like Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, through reflection on her work as a former curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London, UK.

Jane Pavitt (ZHF) also opened discussion with Claire on Zaha’s life-long interest in wearing and collecting pieces from these designers, which are currently being audited in ZHF’s collection.