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Street/Urban Wear Expert

The word on the street is... fashion! Our sassy Street Wear Expert Chako is the urban outfitter you need to sport serious threads, G.

Superflat=Super Fly

Once again I decided to brave the heavy traffic heading north to Los Angeles, but this time not in search of jeans, but rather, on a more cultural scout: to view an art exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

The exhibition consisted of art in all mediums from sculpture to digital to photo to fashion from young Japanese artists and was titled "Superflat". This title, given by its organizer, artist Takashi Murakami, is appropriate because it refers to the tendency of artists from Japan to be highly influenced by Manga (or Japanese cartoons) and its culture (The Manga art is based in two dimensions and its culture is based on the escape from reality). This is its first showing outside of Japan.

What really struck me once I entered the small but amazing exhibition was the immersion into this cosmic wonderland filled with big round eyes and swirling candy colors. There were extraordinarily impressive sketches, cells and video from actual Manga movies that went into such detail and such imagination in both technology and characterization that it was hard to not let your jaw drop and your eyes pop.

There was a huge (perhaps 15-20 feet high!) sculpture that was comprised of photos of an actual plane that were patched together and shaped into a droopy and tired Japanese fighter plane. There were photos taken by Masafumi Sanai of teens and items of mundane suburbia but taken in another light to make them seem sexy not nonchalant and inanimate (unfortunately the cult photographer Hiromix's work was not featured). Mr. did fabulous sketches of girls on tons and tons of receipts There were stylized digital images by Chiho Aoshima juxtaposed with a performance artist on film going through the motions with old Samurai swords. The whole set up of the show was very nicely done and added to this new generation of art.

Much of the art was very child-like or even magical. The colors were very bright, the eyes very big and wide and sexuality was a running theme throughout most of the work. The first piece you see when you walk in is of about 32 identical statues with different hair and different props lined up in rows sporting bright orange jumpsuits and Converse. They look like factory workers and have an ominous yet benevolent presence (on strike or waiting to get into the factory?!). All these works of art by new, young artists in Japan was very exciting to get to see up close instead of in a popular culture magazine or on the Net.

I think what will interest you, dear reader, is the fashion from the design firm 20471120. They went for a very military look, although probably not inspired by the military thing going on for this spring. They did some wet-suit looking futuristic pieces that looked part 70's track suit, part sci-fi spy suit. The pieces that really inspired me were the gothic type suit made out of American sweatshirts and the camo dress.

The suit was amazing! There was a flitted blazer and a long fish tail type skirt all patched together seamlessly, yet even some of the necklines of the sweatshirts were woven right onto the outsides of the skirt, giving it an almost bag-lady type of look but, nevertheless, very urban couture.

The camo dress was almost school marmish except that it had a low v-neckline, pleats down the front and a large fur collar, that looked like it was either from Prada or an aviators jacket, to top it off. There was an old cable knit v-neck sweater with a tee-shirt iron-on ironed onto it along with a strap of sweater going across the top of the 'v' that was very punk and very reconstructed. Which is to say that many of 20471120 went with a reconstructed and neo-Tokyo type look (check out Akira).

A lot of the pieces looks binding, not baggy or free and one of the blazers even had a cross binding of straps across the front and the back. The fashion was pretty different from what you would expect to see from America. It was very inspiring to see them take from America's thriftstores and reconfigure urban fashion as we know it.

If you get a chance to see this exhibition, please drop everything and take a peak. It can inspire your fashion choices and your own artwork and help you see things from a different perspective!


Check these other great articles from our Street/Urban Wear Expert:

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