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  • Place of origin:

    Tokyo (made)

  • Date:

    1971 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Yamamoto, Kansai, born 1944 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Crêpe, satin, quilted, and lined with satin

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the designer

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Jumpsuit consisting of two crêpe and satin panels. The ground comprises black and white crêpe panels with appliqué shapes in red satin, edged with black ribbon to give overall design of a large Japanese mask. The neck is edged with black ribbon, and round the bottom is a roll of quilting covered with red satin. The suit is full-length, and lined throughout with red satin.

Each half of the garment is made from a complete semi-circle, individually seamed from the floor to the crotch and then joined together by a heavy duty zip, opening at the back of the neck and running down under the crotch and up to the front of the neck.

Place of Origin

Tokyo (made)


1971 (made)


Yamamoto, Kansai, born 1944 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Crêpe, satin, quilted, and lined with satin

Marks and inscriptions

'Yamamoto Kansai'
Woven label, white on black


Height: 164 cm neck to bottom hem maximum, Width: 234 cm wrist to wrist maximum

Object history note

In 1971 Kansai Yamamoto was the first Japanese fashion designer to hold a collection show in London, entitled 'Kansai in London'. This outfit (by Kansai's own judgment) was the star of the show. It was worn with matching boots (given), and over a knitted woolen, tightly-fitting 'hot-pants' jumpsuit (not given). Among the models for this show was Marie Helvin. This London debut brought him an international spotlight and a long friendship with artists like Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and David Bowie, for whom he designed the outfits for the Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane tours.

David Bowie said, for the Edo-Tokyo Museum's Kansai exhibition (2008), to which this object was loaned:
"The Kansai Yamamoto costume designs that Kansai and I chose for the Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane tours contributed significantly to pushing away from the 60's and for creating new sensibilities for the post-modern 70's. Kansai's brave ideas brought Japanese clothes design to the forefront of fashion".

Kansai references traditional Japanese culture in his designs. The shape of this outfit is that of a Japanese kite and features a the face of a yakko, or old soldier, typically caricaturised in traditional theatre and dance.

Given by Mr Kansai Yamamoto as part of the Cecil Beaton gift.

Descriptive line

Jumpsuit consisting of two crêpe and satin panels, designed by Kansai Yamamoto, Tokyo, 1971.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

British Vogue, October 1971
Image of the jumpsuit designed for wear underneath this semi-curcular culotte suit. Getty Images, 1971, #: 2628858 (www.gettyimages.com)
Fashion : An Anthology by Cecil Beaton. London : H.M.S.O., 1971


Satin; Crepe


Applied work; Sewing; Weaving

Subjects depicted

Masks; Kites; Soldier (Guardsman)


Fashion; Clothing; Performance art

Production Type

Haute couture


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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