Gallery view of the Shock Wave exhibition

The Women Who Put the Shock in Shock Wave

This blog series highlights just a handful of the women who made Shock Wave: Japanese Fashion Design, 1980s–90s, possible. In addition to the 30 looks on view from the DAM’s collection, another prominent portion of the exhibition consists of private loans.

Geographically, our lenders span westward from Denver to Los Angeles to Honolulu; more or less the halfway point to Japan from LA. We were extremely fortunate to find such an incredible cast of women to represent the spectrum of Japanese fashion in the ’80s and ’90s.

Shock Wave not only pays homage to six revolutionary designers, but also to the women who actually wore their clothing. Our lenders include legendary business women, famous art patrons, pioneering Asian art dealers, and even the Former First Lady of Hawai’i. They are responsible for making the clothing come alive; embodying the avant-garde approach of these designers’ concepts mixing contemporary art and fashion, simultaneously redefining feminine power and beauty.

Shock Wave is on view through May 28. It is included with general admission; free for members.

Jane Burke is curatorial assistant in the department of textile art and fashion.