Greater Japan at Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton's resort 2018 collection, shown yesterday at Miho Museum near Kyoto, burst with historical Japanese references. As Vogue's Nicole Phelps pointed out, designer and Japanophile Nicolas Ghesquière has been traveling to the island country for two decades, enthralled by its "samurai armor, Kurosawa’s colors, Kabuki makeup, traditional prints of fishermen, and the obscure 1970s Japanese film series Stray Cat Rock."

Of particular note, Ghesquière collaborated with Kansai Yamamoto, who most famously dressed David Bowie in his more voluminous and daring Ziggy Stardust looks. While a master of modern design, Yamamoto is also something of a sartorial historian, informing the collection with bright Kabuki-esque prints, armor-like beading, and other motifs inspired by Edo-period works.

Here at Hint, the collection called to mind the onna-bugeisha, or women warriors of feudal Japan. Starting in the 12th century, many wives, widows, daughters, and rebels answered the call of duty by engaging in battle. These women were trained in the use of weapons — sword, bow and arrow, and the naginata (a pole with a curved blade) — to protect their home, family, and honor in times of war.

Notable onna-bugeisha included Empress Jingu, Nakano Takeko, and Hōjō Masako, but perhaps the most heroic of the bunch was Tomoe Gozen. While the role of the onna-bugeisha was primarily defensive, Tomoe Gozen was deployed on the offensive alongside samurai men, as told in the 12th century epic The Tale of the Heike. It is the only known account of Tomoe Gozen, making her all the more mythic in stature.


Tomoe Gozen by Utagawa Toyokuni, ca 1800


Tomoe Gozen by Utagawa Kunimasa, 1797


Hangaku Gozen by Yoshitoshi, ca 1885


Tomoe Gozen


Tomoe Gozen


Tomoe Gozen


Tomoe Gozen by Ginko, ca 1875


Onoe Tamizo by Katsukawa Shunshô, ca 1775


Colorized portrait of a Kabuki actress as onna-bugeisha, 1870s


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018


Louis Vuitton resort 2018





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May 15, 2017 15:16:00

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