Thursday, January 22, 2009

Loren: Sometimes my heart speaks japanese

I am not the most fluent of Japanese language students, but I do love, have loved, the japanese language and culture for over a decade now. The higher the level I go in japanese studies only serves to drive the fact that I have merely scraped the outer lining of the culture, deeper into my brain, humbling me in the process. There is something very Zen-like about learning about one's stupidity with the acquisition of knowledge which thus brings us closer to Enlightenment. Ohmmm. I am a pebble in the bubbling stream of life. Watch me bump along the river bed mindlessly.

It goes without saying, I am an english speaker. A relatively fluent English speaker. (hah.) However, I find that when I wish to be gentler and softer, I tend to speak chinese. When I want to convey my vulnerability, I tend to express it in japanese. I suppose its pretty handy to have aspects of my character locked within language barriers. Considering that I speak english most of the time brings us to the natural assumption that I:

1. Rarely wish to be gentler or softer.
2. I hardly ever show my vulnerble side to others.

Well, its probably the case.

When I heard this TOHOSHINKI aka DBSK aka TVXQ aka TVfXQ (they seriously have many names and acronyms) - song, it summarised everything I feel towards Mr.Big2 now, especially in light of recent events. So even though I don't talk about it, here's the song to express it all! Neat. Saves me the trouble. And I think it might be appropriate for Tilly as a month or two. What's odd about TOHOSHINKI is that they are a South Korean boy band, who sings in both Japanese and Korean. Talk about closing cultural gaps, especially with Korean and Japan's turbulent history. 

I am more familiar with Japanese designers such as Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, Tsumori Chisato, Limi Feu, Kenzo, Issey Miyake and Eley Kishimoto (half jap) but when it comes to Korean designers, I am woefully unschooled.  However, judging from Y & Kei's and Doo.Ri's collections, it would be remiss of me to overlook Korean fashion designers.

                    (Doo.Ri Spring 2009 RTW)     (Y & Kei Fall 2008 RTW)

(first above) New York based designer Doo-Ri Chung's recent collection has a feeling of lightness to it, with lightweight fabrics such as jersey and silks draped over the body silhouette gently, the cuts of the garments roomy through the hips and upper thighs and tapering to the ankle, creating movement with ruching and tie front details. After seeing gladiator, alien-inspired, times-are-tough, hard shelled collections cross the runway one after another, its a breath of fresh air to see a collection that suggests a return to modern femininity without sacrificing one's intelligence or comfort zone. (Read: No over-the-top florals, ruffles, taffeta, lace, corsets,strait laces, boobs pushed up and out.)

I haven't heard about Y & Kei's Gene Kang and Hanii Yoon prior to this entry, but anyone who defines their label's aesthetic as being "avant garde romantic" has my ears perked and my eyes sharpened. Mostly because they used one of my favourite words there, and its not the word 'romantic', mind you. Save for the sequinned impressionistic dresses (love!), I don't see much of the avant garde romantic in this particular collection, but would describe this collection as having a more edgy classicism angle. Its a rather eclectic collection, with bowler hats and winter coats that has a vintage London feel, and then with soft printed maxi dresses, followed with full skirts cinched in with narrow belts. Perhaps as a collection, its not the most cohesive, but as individual outfits, they are complete within themselves. And yes. I love each outfit as my own. 

On a parting note, I have thought that if I ever picked up the Korean language, I'd probably be using it to curse. Have you ever heard a korean swear? Heart stopping. Sometimes, even if they aren't swearing, they sound so brusque and rough that it makes you panic anyway. If cursing in French makes it sound like you're wiping your ass with silk (Matrix quote), then I think swearing in Korean is replacing the silk with sandpaper. Perfect to use on people who only comprehend the obvious and not the subtle.

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