Roger Leong, Guest Editor Roger is Curator of International Fashion & Textiles at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
In the March 2005 issue of TAASA Review takes a broad perspective on fashion in the Asian context. It embraces subjects ranging from the history of silk brocade techniques to the fictional world of Hong Kong in the 1960s. I am especially pleased that several of the articles in this issue profile designers and events in Sydney, Queensland and Melbourne, offering a distinctly local inflection.
One of Australia's longest running public fashion diversions is Lee Lin Chin, SBS World News presenter (cover), and the clothes that she wears on air. Chin allowed me to publish a glimpse into her ever-expanding personal collection of mostly Tokyo designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe. Akira Isogawa: Printemps-Été is a beautiful exhibition that charts the development of the Sydney designer's springsummer 2005 collection; Katie Somerville, curator of the project, provides some background to the curatorial process. Ann Proctor discusses the work of the Sydney designer Alistair Trung, teasing out a number of themes ranging from his inventive use of fabrics to his distinctive approach to cutting and draping forms that playfully respond to the individual wearer's mood and shape.
The New Year festival held at Innisfail in north Queensland is the setting for the annual gathering of the Australian Hmong community and the chance for a range of traditional customs and skills to be updated. Maria Friend's analysis of the elaborately worked costumes worn at the festival demonstrates that the rate of change and global influence is as fast and multifarious as any form of contemporary dress in Australia. In a different historical context, Carol Cains relates her encounter in northern Laos with one of Luang Prabang's long-standing puzzles: the appearance of two pairs of European male figures dressed in 17th century costume carved into the wooden doors of a small congregation hall.
Hong Kong never looked as romantic as in Wong Kar-wai's film In the mood for love and much of this was due to the clothes, in particular Maggie Cheung's spectacular cheung sam. Kathryn Weir considers the role of the lead actress's gowns, which were instrumental to the powerful tenor of the film. The exhibition Lumières de soie at the Musée Guimet in Paris last year was the largest survey of Asian silk brocade techniques to date, including examples drawn from China, Japan, India and Indonesia and works dating from as early as the Han dynasty. Yvonne Tan highlights some of the rare garments and provides an overview of the exhibition. Even some of our reviewers highlight clothes and the body: Freda Freiberg and Ben Divall respectively take us back to ancient China - Zhang Yimou's Hero - and to modern-day Seoul (via Sydney) - an assessment of Lee Bul's recent survey at the MCA.
Sandra Forbes, Editor, TAASA Review
TAASA Review has not previously focused on the subject of fashion, but we thought it was a serious art-historical topic as well being fun. Deep down, my only fear was that (to paraphrase philosopher George Santayana) what might be fashionable as we go to press 'must afterwards be always old-fashioned'. However, as Santayana also observed, 'there is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval', we hope this issue will help you do just that.
TAASA has another achievement to crow about in this new Year of the Rooster. I'm pleased to report that the Index to 12 years (January 1991-December 2004 inclusive) of TAASA Review has just been completed by our skilled professional indexer Patricia Waters. Patricia said she really enjoyed the job - and on looking through this extensive work (52 closely-typed pages) I can see why. The Index testifies, even more so than we had expected, that the coverage and achievements of TAASA Review over the past 12 years have been enormous, and very significant for the recorded history of Asian arts in the Australian context. Decisions as to how/when the Index will be made publicly available will be taken at imminent TAASA Committee meetings, and members will be kept informed. TAASA has done an amazing job, and all on a shoestring, in publicising and promoting interest in the arts of Asia in Australia over the past 12 years. With your help, the Society can continue to do this. So please renew your membership for 2005 right now, if you haven't done so already. A membership form is included with this issue, or you can download one from our website www.taasa.org.au.
3 EDITORIAL: FASHION IN THE ASIAN CONTEXT - Roger Leong/Sandra Forbes
4 AKIRA ISOGAWA: CONCEPT, COLLABORATION, COLLECTION - Katie Somerville
6 LOCAL AND GLOBAL FLOWERS: HMONG COSTUMES OF NORTH QUEENSLAND - Maria Friend
9 EXHIBITION REVIEW: MENACING, MONSTROUS, BEAUTIFUL, SERENE - Lee Bul at MCA Ben Divall
10 LEE LIN CHIN AND JAPANESE FASHION - Roger Leong
12 A FASHION PUZZLE IN LUANG PRABANG - Carol Cains
14 ALISTAIR TRUNG: ‘FROM THE BEACH TO BENNELONG’ - Ann Proctor
16 ‘SHE DRESSES UP LIKE THAT TO GO OUT FOR NOODLES?’ FASHION AND RESTRAINT IN WONG KAR-WAI’S IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
19 FILM REVIEW: A HEROIC TRIUMPH OF STYLE - Hero by Zhang Yimou Freda Freiberg
20 EXHIBITION REVIEW: LUMINOUS AND ILLUMINATING - Lumières de soie at the Guimet, Paris Yvonne Tan
22 EXHIBITION REVIEW: VOYEURISM LIMITED - Tetsuya Noda in San Francisco Natalie Seiz
23 REPORT: ICOC DOWN UNDER 2004 - Rachel Miller
24 TAASA PROFILES: SUSAN MILLER AND KATE JOHNSTON
25 TAASA REPORT: ARTS OF INDIA SEMINAR, MELBOURNE -
25 TAASA MEMBERS’ DIARY MARCH – MAY 2005
26 WHAT’S ON IN AUSTRALIA: MARCH TO MAY 2005 - Compiled by Tina Burge