KCIDigital Archives

The KCI Digital Archives on the KCI website presents image and text information for the objects in the collection, arranged in chronological order.

Dress and Jeans

© The Kyoto Costume Institute, photo by Takashi Hatakeyama

You can enlarge by putting the mouse cursor on the image.

Dress and Jeans

Spring/Summer 2002

Junya Watanabe
Washed blue cotton denim one-piece dress with a train and frayed edges, matching jeans.
Inventory Number(s)
AC10732 2002-4-3AB

Denim is a thick fabric made mainly of twilled cotton. The most familiar type is blue denim, in which the weft thread is left white and the warp thread is dyed with indigo or some other dye. It was used in the jeans that were popular as workwear in late 19th century America. In the second half of the 20th century, denim gained worldwide popularity, becoming an increasingly familiar fabric for robust and fashionable everyday wear. Ever since launching his brand in 1992, Junya Watanabe has used his careful study of materials and cutting techniques to produce new looks that explore innovative approaches. One example is this dress with undulating flounces using denim softened through washing. The faded, vintage coloring, aged look with ragged, frayed edges, and elegant draping of the dress that turns into a train are all in wonderful harmony. The 1990s trend for “banal” fashion inspired designers to look back at fashions of the recent past, picking up or remaking pre-worn clothing as the hippies had done in the 1970s, and drawing on faded colors, creases, and other elements of well-worn garments that were conventionally seen as detrimental. The term “vintage”—once the preserve of wines and cars—was newly applied to second-hand clothes, and damage or distress were reinterpreted as adding individuality or rarity. This look bears the atmosphere of that period, exuding a casual, unstressed elegance.