The Metropolitan Museum of Art held the exhibition of “Storytelling in Japanese Art” in 2012. In this exhibition, most of the works are about Yokai art. One of the art painting is named Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons, also named as Hyakki Yagyo in Japanese. The appearances and postures of different kinds of ghosts are various , from ferocious to misery and flirtatious.
All the ink lines, colors, shapes, patterns, and accessories are very mysterious and had a beautiful oriental aesthetic style. The design inspiration comes from the art illustrations of traditional Yokai.”When the god Izanagi returned from the Land of Yomi, he purified himself in a bath. As he dried his body, each falling drop of water soaked into the soil and imbued the land with supernatural potential. Thus, the Yokai were born.” —name dateThe definition of Yokai is the creatures that are strange and supernatural and come from Japanese folklore. In Japanese folklore, belief in Yokai and spirits has been deep rooted and people believe these demons can wander freely between the living and the dead. Japanese artists represented demons not just as supernatural beings, but also as embodiment of the evil facets of human’s nature.
( )Even objects could be demons. For example, if household goods are not treated with care and respect, they will possess special powers after a long time. It is said that hundreds of this kind of creatures will set up a grand parade in the certain night of summer in Japan. This phenomena is called Hyakki Yagyo which have been mentioned before. During Edo Period, many artists brought the folklore into reality through traditional painting form.
It was connected with Ukiyo-e, a kind of art genre which greatly impacted on Japanese art world. For instance, famous Yokai artists Toriyama Sekien and Utagawa Kuniyoshi illustrated in both ink wood and Ukiyo-e forms. Japonism and Orientalism in Fashion Japanese traditional art paintings are always been applied for inspiration in fashion design for its exotic beauty. Many designers place great emphasis on an admiration for traditional Japanese art as well as the forms and ideologies of modernism. For example, Charles Frederick Worth, the father of couture, once was influenced by Japanese art. The usage of bold sunburst and clouds patterns are asymmetrical, which is a common feature of Japanese art and craft. The design of two gowns shows an oriental influence.
Designers could not ignore the trend called Japonism. It can be dated back to 19 Century, when the Japanese motifs and asymmetrical compositions were gradually absorbed into Paris Haute Couture as new designs. Western fashion world gives great interest of oriental textile motifs such as sakura flower, bamboo pattern and silk material with beautiful embroidery elements on it. As showed in image 5, the light weight silk crepe fabric with classic oriental pattern has been made into a dress in 1890 by Jacques Doucet, a famous French designer. Inspired by traditional Japanese kimono style, designers came up with new silhouette and structure of clothing. It is very clear to see that western fashion has begun to be open and combined with the eastern costumes. The influences and changes can been seen on silhouette and a lot of details.
For women, the outline of the entire garment is no longer close to the body bust and waist line. It begins to appear some loose and straight-cut coat and dress to liberate bodies. More fabrics are used on the part between sleeve and side panel. This brought a new concept of clothing that placed the emphasis not on the waist but on the shoulders, creating a beautiful and smooth form the flowed from the natural drape of the fabric. In the mid-twentieth century, a group of worldwide known Japanese fashion designers emerged, injecting new inspiration into the fashion scene of the time with their unique aesthetic design concepts and oriental cultures. Orientalism has been playing an important role for a long time. It is a trend that always make a comeback. Changes in the fashion industry also occur in other parts of Asia.
In 2015 Met Gala, Andrew Bolton curated and organized a spectacular exhibition ——- ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The whole exhibition focused on Chinese traditional fashion and combined high fashion with Chinese costumes, calligraphy and painting, porcelain, and other art forms including film making to showcase the fascinating repercussions of Chinese imagery, which showed mythical Orient’s beauty, danger and mystery. The Art of Yokai on FashionJapan occupies an important position in the entire oriental culture, and Yokai, the folk culture and art, is one of its specific manifestations.
There are a few designers that inspired by japanese yokai and come up with unique collection. On the 2016 Tokyo Fashion Week, Japanese designer Yoshikazu Yamagata took the world of yokai as his theme for Autumn Winter 2016/17 collection. In the show, some models were restricted by high geta sandals, making their presences imposing. One of them wore a heavy dress in thick sacking that she had to drag down the runway, barely able to move under its weight. The designer used layers, colors, beautiful pattern printing and make up to create a weird and strange mood.To cite another example, Chinese young fashion designer Angel Chen, who was graduated from Central Saint Martins and her 2017 Spring Summer collection displayed as a fashion presentation on 2016 Shanghai fashion week. The models all painted like geisha makeup, dyed red, green, golden and other gorgeous hair color, dressed in Chinese and Japanese character dragon ghost pattern jacket, dress or wide denim set with sparkling sequined decorated on it.
The interesting part is, models dressed regardless of gender. Thin male models stepping on Atsugi and wore skirt, while some female models wore masculine trench coat trousers. The background pictures on the curtain changed rapidly. Sakura flowers, red lips, lightning and other settings added surrealism to the entire demo. This is a collection that obviously shows how these traditional folks been applied and combined with urban or street style, which gives them a new life and make it on trend.Belief and its ImpactsHumans have a curiosity and exploration of unknown things. From the birth of fashion, it draws inspiration from various folk cultures in different regions of the world.
For western fashion, eastern culture has a special magical and mysterious charm. In the folk culture of China and Japan, people believe in gods, souls, and reincarnations after death. Buddhism, which made its way through the open gates of Japan in the 6th century, brought with it a belief in supernatural forces. Nowadays people are gradually realizing that disasters and threats really come from human beings themselves. In Japanese Yokai culture, there are people’s thinking about the relationship between man and nature. It has had a huge impact on all aspects of society.
In recent years, fashion design industry has also been thinking about the relationship with the natural environment. The cost of raw materials, environmental pollution caused by factory processing and fast fashion waste have always been the hot topics. While drawing on the oriental culture as a source of inspiration, designers also explore the meaning behind the culture. Whether or not supernatural beings and myths and legends exist, one should understand and respect different cultures and societies. Trend ResearchOrient fashion as a trend is nothing new. It has been seen appeared on the catwalk numerous times in the past. In 2016 and 2017, there was a big trend on japonism and orientalism especially for fabric and textile.
Some brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Erdem interwove elements of oriental fashion. Dolce & Gabbana designed beautiful embroidery motifs inspired by orient on its Spring Summer 2018 Men’s Collection. It is not on trend on 2019 and 2020. However, its influence still be seen, from the printing, pattern to fabric and other aspects, which means that orient has infiltrated into all aspects of modern fashion. Ideas and Process application and realizationFrom the initial concept of japanese yokai and art works came the color decision of the collection. Colors mixed with shades will be used to give it a classic, matte and mysterious look.To set the mood, gray and light brown are chosen as the basic background color and mixed with black shades behind to make it a deep and mysterious look.
In addition, in the middle of the board is the representative scene named Torii, which is always be seen in front of shrines in japan, surrounding by many faces of Yokai. This is to emphasis the theme and can make it clearer to people. Hair and eyes are put there as decoration to add a feel of scare.The concept of fabric is selecting environmentally friendly materials. Cotton, natural hemp and silk fabric will be in consideration. Besides, in designing development part, draping cut will be used for whole shape instead of paper drafting to make some three dimension effects.
Working female aging between 25-35 will be the target market. Their personalities are creative, quiet, liberal and interested in oriental culture. Art museums, temples or churches will be the places they often go.
Nowadays, Yokai is not only based on paintings or stories. The influence of Yokai can be seen in all aspects of Japanese culture, from manga and anime, to films, games, music, fashion, and even on Japanese currency. It has been a part of Japanese subculture and has a certain popularity among young people.From the legend of Yokai to the exquisite and unique Japanese art style, next to the tradition and belief of folk culture. Fashion is the blend and collision of different cultures. When Fashion get inspiration from the ghosts in folklore, it is rediscovered and explored at the same time through fashion .