My friend and I were walking down the streets of Ginza in Tokyo, and these men dressed in black suits invited us to go behind the black curtain that covered the entrance. We were a bit surprised and checked for any sign that might tell us what was happening. We saw the word, Dior. That has to be good, right?
We walked into a huge, black room filled with a museum-worthy show of Christian Dior and his life in fashion. A huge portrait of Dior by Kuniyoshi Kima was near the entrance. We had heard nothing about this show! We looked at each other with glee. We both like fashion, especially vintage, and my friend loves Dior perfume.
Dior’s Bar suit was one of the first things we saw upon entering. Black dresses and suits were plentiful but did not show up very well in the dark rooms. The cream shantung jacket was stunning. The staff mixed up the story about this jacket with the Bar coat that was x-rayed downstairs. The same reasoning might apply to both outfits, but the original story seems to originate with that cream shantung silk suit. The staff told me, in Japanese, that the red coat dress was designed so that a woman could go out for a drink at a bar by herself. Did the dress have superpowers? Did it have secret pockets for self defense? Was the large metallic belt the reason why a woman could go out alone? The poor woman got flustered and dragged in another sales clerk who also could not tell me anything more or anything different. After doing some brief research on the Internet, I learned that the cream suit was the original Bar suit, and it was called that because it was regarded as being appropriate for being worn during the day and then going directly to the bar for cocktails without the need to change your outfit. That makes much more sense! It had nothing to do with the woman being out on her own. Something must have gotten lost in translation during their training session, and nobody questioned the absurdity of what was said.
With the contemporary Bar coat (as it was called in Japanese), you could scan it with an x-ray or scan it again and see the construction. For some unknown reason, the English and French versions were very difficult to activate. Only the Japanese version worked seamlessly. (Sorry! I couldn’t resist the pun.)
Illustrations by Rene Gruau and photographs by Patrick Demarchelier covered the walls. Artwork by other artists and fashion created in co-operation with other artists were also prominently featured. Needless to say that the dress with Hokusai’s famous print on it was created together with a Japanese artist. And the dress with the hands? Elsa Schiaparelli’s influence of course.
Artwork involving accessories, such as handbags, were also displayed.
Doesn’t the bag by Wanda remind you of a snowflake? Or do you now feel like saying, “A bag named Wanda”?
Kohei Nawa is a hot, young artist with his bubble-covered items.
Aiko Miyanaga encased a bag in an acrylic block.
Nicholas Milhe is part of the trend placing tiny figurines in unexpected, giant surroundings.
We cannot forget the fashion.
The skilled men and women, usually women, who work without glory must also not be forgotten. If you spoke French or Japanese, you could speak with one of the seamstresses from Dior and learn the secrets of couture.
Tokyo has special events everywhere all the time! London was like that, too. I have never lived near a major metropolis before so I am still enjoying this perk while I can. The problem is that you cannot go to them all and you feel like you are missing something. It gets really hard to stay at home or to sit still and draw in the studio even if you have been inspired by what you have seen.