Originally Japonisme referred to the influence of the Japanese civilization & art on the 19th century French artists and writers and later on, the whole Western world. Japonisme means the world to me since I am literally addicted to anything having a Japanese vibe. Is there a word to qualify a person suffering from an intense attraction to Japan and its culture? I don't know if this word exists but I am happy to be a kind of Japanese worshiper! Japonisme is a current inspiration when I am wondering what to wear. Charles would probably say "what's the point of trying too much because you are only going to work where you're going to wear an uniform?". I would probably answer him that I love to wear "fantastic" pieces even though the occasion seems more than ephemeral! This weekend we were at the We Love Green Festival and I definitely wanted to wear something standing out, something with a genuine purpose. At first, I wanted to give my very own interpretation of Japonisme, meaning something embodying an idea of Japan. I have so many ideas when it comes to twist a festival look disrupting it in a Japanese approach!
A Japonisme-inspired festival look does not mean a literal look; for instance, I won't wear a souvenir jacket because it's way too simple. I will opt for something that evokes Japan but that is not a cliché, trying something different, very personal that will have a resonance (even if I am the only one who can read these particular Japanese references). I am thinking of an outfit visually expressing something that has a Japanese relevance like creating a kind of patchwork of colors that will scream Japan like red, white or blue. The Spring Summer 2015 collection of Raf Simons is clearly my main reference exploring this idea of Hedonism taking from Hiroshige famous prints. This collection is definitely a celebration of Japan because Raf's eponymous brand shares a special relationship with the land of the rising sun: the Japanese buyers and customers were the first to worship and support him, they were precious, helping him to establish his independent brand. Simons nailed one of the perfect uniforms dedicated to the youth, one of the most powerful garments you can wear with a lot of attitude & irreverence. These uniforms were like armors that make you feel strong, adorned by prints or embroideries evoking scenes of the floating world like the masterpiece series known as "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo".
Wild, strong and powerful uniforms like the Sukeban all-girl gang that appeared in the late 60's. The Sukeban girls were adopting sailor-style uniforms pairing them with leather gloves, but it was, of course, a uniform of rebellion. Today, the spirit of Sukeban is alive in Bosokuzo (meaning literally speed tribe) used to refer to all-girl motorcycle gangs.
|Raf Simons T-shirt & Vintage Shirt, Raf Simons x Adidas Platform Sneakers|
|& Other Stories Sweater, Eytys Sneakers, Vintage Kenzo Sailor Denim Bag|
|Kenzo Tshirt, Tabi Socks (bought in Japan), Ximon Lee x HM Jeans|
Raf Simons SS15 pictures via Vogue.com
|Hand-Embroidered Vintage Trench, Tabi Socks, Bernhard Willhelm x Camper Sandals, & Other Stories Sweater|
Sukeban pictures via Tumblr
My definition of the perfect uniform is definitely a garment that is emblematic & meaningful; something that will put you up on a pedestal. If you are looking at pictures of my We Love Green outfit on our Instagram, you'll see that it was far from being Japonisme-inspired, instead it was more appropriate to the rainy conditions and the mud galore. Japonism + pajamas + the youth subculture attitude = my favorite uniform for a festival and beyond, for my everyday life, whatever the occasion.
Words by Yann Sackville-West