Thursday, 20 February 2014

Like some cat from Japan

Accepting on behalf of David Bowie the British Male Solo Artist award at this year’s BRIT Awards, Kate Moss wore an original Ziggy Stardust costume which was first unveiled by Bowie on 19th August 1972 at his legendary show at The Rainbow in North London.

The so-called 'rabbit' costume worn by Kate (properly called “Woodland Creatures”) was created by Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto.

Kate read out David Bowie’s acceptance speech, as follows:
“Lovely. In Japanese myth, the rabbits on my old costume that Kate’s wearing actually live on the moon, Kate comes from Venus and I'm from Mars. So that's nice!!

I’m completely delighted to have a BRIT for being the best male. But I am, aren't I Kate?

I think it's a great way to end the day.

Thank you very, very much.

Scotland please stay with us.”
Esoteric long-distance ramblings aside, it is that outfit that continues to intrigue, as does its designer...

Born in Yokohama in 1944, Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto was only 27 when he held his first international fashion show in London in 1971. The Japanese division of RCA records made MainMan aware of Yamamoto's work and Bowie purchased the "woodlands animal costume" from Kansai's London boutique - which he wore at the Rainbow concert in August 1972 and which was later remade by Natasha Korniloff. Bowie subsequently viewed a video of a rock-fashion show that Kansai had staged in Japan the previous year and reportedly loved the costumes which were a combination of modern sci-fi and classical Kabuki theatre. Kansai and Bowie met in New York where Kansai gifted Bowie two costumes during the 2nd US Tour.

Kansai was then commissioned to create nine more costumes based on traditional Japanese Noh dramas for Bowie to pick up in Tokyo in April 1973. These were the flamboyant androgynous Ziggy Stardust costumes Bowie wore on the 3rd UK tour in 1973. Kansai has been a driving force in fashion design ever since and is now a major personality in Japan.

An interview with Kansai Yamamoto in The Telegraph

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