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Left: Raglan-sleeve gunmetal gray raincoat with black leather belt, black gun boots, and black peaked military hat, all by Y's. Right: Gunmetal gray padded-shoulder military coat, black wool band-collar man's shirt, gray quilted military hat, all by Y's.


When the more avant-garde Japanese designers started showing in Paris in the 1970s they brought with them a completely new aesthetic—melding east and west, they veered between formalism (in the work of Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons, who first showed in Paris in 1981) and zany maximalism (Kansai Yamamoto, who debuted in Paris in 1975). Leading this group was Issey Miyake who showed in New York as early as 1971 and then Paris from 1973. With Miyake and Kenzo (who opened a store, Jungle Jap, in Paris in 1970) announcing the arrival of Japanese fashion, western editors and retailers began searching more out—though neither Kawakubo nor Yohji Yamamoto showed in Paris in 1981, their clothes were available in select boutiques in Europe and the United States for several years prior. In 1978 Viva sent a crew to Japan to shoot an editorial showcasing the work of this generation of designers—collaborating with Shiseido, Kazumi Kurigami photographed the hottest Japanese models of the time (including the exquisite Sayoko Yamaguchi) in a series of moody tableaux.

All photographs by Kazumi Kurigami for Viva, September 1978.

Left: Camel knit bubble cape, olive suede square-cut skirt, green-and-blue-fringed check wool scarf, tan leather lace-up shoes, brown gabardine western hat, and brown wool socks worn over brown ribbed wool leggings. Right: Ankle-length black knit circle cape with deep patch pockets, cobalt blue suede butcher's apron, misty blue, gray and mauve raglan-sleeve wool check dress, blue-and-white-check wool scarf, black ribbed leggings under black wool socks, and heavy black leather lace-up shoes. All by Issey Miyake.


Fawn wool gabardine aviator's suit fastened over baggy khaki parachute trousers and flying shirt, canvas military web belt, khaki wool socks, and heavy brown leather lace-up shoes. All by Comme des Garçons.


Issey Miyake's brilliant yellow cire bubble raincoats and matching baggy trousers with the waists won with orange-and-black checked wool sweaters over black wool shirts, purple ribbed wool tights and socks, heavy sand leather lace-up shoes with rubber soles and yellow fisherman's hats.


Black wool-and-silk sun-ray pleated skirt with black velvet trim, black wool shirt, white-and-maroon-striped V-neck sweater, black narrow belt, black ribbed tights, black suede boots, and maroon knit hat. All by Kansai Yamamoto.


Brown patchwork knit ankle-length coat with brilliant pink circle on back, black-and-gray button-through skirt, brown-and-beige felt hat with feather in ribbon, flat brown suede thigh-high boots. All by Issey Miyake.


Long V-neck quilted jacket, black-and-white small-check quilted trousers, matching black-and-white wool shirt, black fine-wool butcher's apron, black quilted flat mandarin shoes, and black ridged gabardine coolie hat. All by Comme des Garçons.

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