South Island audiences will have a rare opportunity to see the creations of some of the fashion world's leading designers, with the opening of Japonism in Fashion at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu this Friday. Japonism in Fashion includes over 80 garments, fabrics and accessories by the leading names in fashion over the last 150 years, including Charles Frederick Worth, Madeleine Vionnet, Mariano Fortuny, Coco Chanel, Paul Poiret, Christian Dior, Issey Miyake, Gucci, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Junya Watanabe for Commes des Garçons.
The exhibition is developed and toured by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in association with the Kyoto Costume Insititute and supported by the Japan Foundation.
"From the opulent, intricately patterned kimonos adapted to Victorian and Edwardian taste, to cutting-edge fashions from the catwalks of Milan and Paris, Japan has influenced fashion the world over," says Gallery Director Tony Preston.
"This show provides an extraordinary opportunity to trace the path of the West's ongoing fascination with the East."
The garments are part of an international touring collection from the Kyoto Costume Institute, which was established in 1978 to systematically collect, research and exhibit Western fashion. The Institute's collection currently comprises over 10,000 costume items, and more than 20,000 printed materials.
Kyoto Costume Institute Chief Curator Akiko Fukai says KCI aims to reassess the past through the study of Western fashion.
"KCI believes that clothing manifests our very being at present, just as it has in the past, and that the Institution's collection represents a cultural heritage to be shared by all," says Akiko Fukai.
For New Zealand to get an unprecedented second show was due in large part to the quality of the new Gallery and the high level of interest it has raised not only nationally, but internationally, says Tony Preston.
"New Zealand audiences were to get only the Te Papa showing, until the Kyoto Costume Institute became aware of our new Gallery."
"They were extremely impressed with the new facility, allowing us - with the support of Te Papa - to secure the exhibition for the Mainland."
"The exhibition also provides another cultural highlight to mark the biennial 2003 Festival of Asia and showcases the facility with another landmark exhibition," says Tony Preston.
"Through exhibitions such as Japonism in Fashion we will continue to reach new audiences, and as a superb new facility of national significance, attract visitors from throughout New Zealand."
Japonism in Fashion opens on 12 December in the Touring and Borg Henry Galleries of the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. The exhibition is developed and toured by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa, in association with The Kyoto Costume Institute. Japonism in Fashion is supported by The Japan Foundation and presented in Christchurch with the support of Deutz, Strategy Advertising & Design, The Press and the Asia 2000 Foundation of New Zealand.