Tote bag, black, part of the full set 'Origami', felted wool nylon blend, designed and made by Akira Isogawa, Australia, 2002, commissioned by Gene Sherman, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2002.
This bag was designed by Akira Isogawa, a Japanese-Australian fashion designer. Isogawa was born in Japan in 1964 and and moved to Australia in 1986. He studied fashion at Institute of Technology and opened a store in Woollahra, Sydney in 1995. By the late 1990s, international sales and recognition established his reputation and now he is one of most prominent contemporary fashion designers in Australia. In 1999 Akira was named Designer of the Year and Womens Wear Designer of the Year at the Australian Fashion Industry Awards. In 2005, he was honoured on a commemorative Australian postage stamp. Akira Isogawa's designs have been exhibited in a number of major Australian galleries. He has also worked as a costume designer for the Sydney Dance Company.
This bag is one of a limited edition of 99 bags in five colors - red, black, deep purple, khaki and blue. The bags were exclusively made for the 'Dressing and Dreaming' exhibition at Sherman Galleries in 2002. The design of the bag was inspired by origami.
The piece forms part of The Gene Sherman Collection of Japanese fashion and accessories with a focus on the work of Issey Miyake, Yohji Yanamoto, Comme des Gar├žons and the Japanese-Australian designer Akira Isogawa formed from the late 1980s to 2000. The Collection reflects Sherman's individual style as well as her appreciation of Japanese design. 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. As director of Sherman Galleries, Dr Sherman 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 from 1995 to 2001 and special advisor to the Museum from 2002 to 2004. Born in South Africa, Sherman lives in Sydney with her husband Brian Sherman.
Curator, Asian Arts & Design
Part of the full set of 'Origami', designed and made by Akira Isogawa, Australia, 2002.
Referring to the 'Origami' tote bags Gene Sherman has said: "April 2002 4 Akira evening bags out of numbered edition of 99. 5 colours - red, black, purple, khaki and blue each numbered and marked 'Akira'. Commissioned by me for "Dressing and Dreaming" 9 artists working with fashion and textiles in April/May 2002 at Sherman Hargrave. Red and black colours sold out immediately. Purple almost so, khaki and blue less popular." (Gene Sherman collection note book 2009/16/62)
"The other inclusion in that show ['Dressing and Dreaming'] which came out of the fashion world was created by Akira Isogawa. We specifically commissioned him to do a group of origami-type handbags, which he did for the show - and then later adapted within his own collections into slightly larger bags in a different fabrics. For us they were done in felt, in different colours." "We sold the bags in editions of a hundred and we did very well. People were lining up to buy them. Three colours were in demand. Two colours were not as popular. People love the black and the red... we sold out quickly - a hundred of each. There was bright blue that people weren't as keen on ┬? " (Interview with Gene Sherman by Claire Roberts, 15 December 2008)
This collection of Japanese fashion, designed by four fashion houses, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Gar├žons 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 pieces of Japanese clothing at Rhonda Parry's boutique in Double Bay in the late 1980s. Since then, she has primarily worn clothes designed by Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Gar├žons. Gene Sherman maintains a wearing wardrobe of approximately 20 pieces. She has said "when I acquire something, I retire a piece into my archived pieces". Sherman had boxes made to museum standards and store 'retired' from the collection in her attic.