Skirt, womens, silk / nylon, designed and made by Yohji Yamamoto, Japan, mid 1990s, owned by Gene Sherman, mid 1990s-2007.
This skirt was designed by Japanese designer, Yohji Yamamoto (born 1943). Yamamoto received a law degree before studying fashion at Bunka College of Fashion. He established his business in Tokyo in 1972, and in 1981 established his company in France and opened a boutique in Paris.
Along with Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto stunned the fashion establishment in the early 1980s with collections that challenged conventional (Western) notions of dress, revoking traditional forms of tailored garments intended to fit body contours. Their designs were often asymmetrical, unstructured and oversized.
Yamamoto also shares an interest in innovative textiles and construction techniques with fellow Japanese designers Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo. Unlike the latter two designers however, following his phase of deconstructionism in the mid 1980s Yohji Yamamoto inclined more towards tailored designs and dressmaking that uses a full range of couture techniques, more in tune with Western dressmaking. Yamamoto never deviates far from the contexts of Western culture, which makes him one of the Japanese designers best understood in the West.
The piece forms part of The Gene Sherman Collection. The Collection reflects Sherman's individual style as well as her appreciation of Japanese fashion. Dr Gene Sherman is Director of Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) in Paddington, Sydney. Its predecessor, Sherman Galleries, founded in 1988, was one of Australia's major commercial art galleries, until it closed in 2007. Dr Sherman has organised many exhibitions of contemporary art from Australia and the Asia-Pacific region and has played an important role connecting art and artists in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Dr Gene Sherman was a trustee of the Powerhouse Museum between 1995 and 2001 and special advisor to the Museum between 2002 and 2004. Born in South Africa, Sherman lives in Sydney with her husband Brian Sherman.
Curator, Asian Arts & Design
This collection of Japanese fashion, designed by four fashion houses, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons and the Japanese-Australian designer Akira Isogawa, was formed by Dr Gene Sherman from the late 1980s to 2007 and donated to the Powerhouse Museum in 2009 under the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
Dr Gene Sherman has been collecting avant-garde Japanese fashion for about 20 years. Dr Sherman bought her first piece of Japanese clothing - an asymmetrical one-armed leather jacket by Issey Miyake which is included in this donation - at Rhonda Parry's boutique in Double Bay in 1985. Since then, she has only worn clothes designed by Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons and Akira Isogawa. She explained that her wardrobe consisted of only 20 pieces, noting that "when I acquire something, I retire a piece into my archives". Sherman had special black cardboard boxes made to museum archival standards for storing these 'retired' pieces in her attic.
The donor purchased the object in Tokyo.