Kansai Yamamoto

"Will you just look at those incredibly insane clothes-I just don’t believe it." The chick flashed a smile and said: "Yeah, he carries most of his street clothes when’s he’s touring and most of his stage costumes-like his spacemen’s suits. He’s going to be on the road about two months, you see. Didn’t you see that Time Mag picture of David with that beautiful black suit of his? Well, he brought that one too. All his suits are custom-made by this fabulous Japanese designer, Kansai, " –David Bowie in Hollywood, by Annie Tipton (June 1974)

Mom was familiar with Kansai Yamoto from the time she spent living in Tokyo-there were Kansai Yamamoto boutiques scattered across the city. "While his particular vision didn’t appeal to me at the time, I remembered him as something of a genius. I kind of had a lightbulb moment and decided it’s time for Kansai". Her words, not mine. You heard it hear first guys…it’s time for Kansai.

Kansai was the man behind David Bowie’s look circa Ziggy Stardust. In several of the photos above you can see him working with David. Seems he was quite the party animal.

We did a quick internet search and realized how this visionary had influenced fashion over time and much of what we are seeing today. His designs are quirky and all-together his own. They often veer on the side of outrageouness. We love someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriousely but at the same time can make the bizarre seem wearable. Kansai epitomized the 80’s with his use of harsh acid colors and bubble knit dresses. He makes us cringe and crave at the same time. We gotta have it! It’s like you become a Bower bird when you see a glitzy Kansai concoction. You either heave or you whip out your American Express.

In particular we were attracted to his use of shimery yarns and knits and punchy sweaters. If you stalk him on eBay, you might be lucky enough to snag a great sweater. Kansai’s cash cow was his knitwear.

Leave a Comment


  1. Jerry Jones wrote:

    My wife has a Kansai Yamamoto wedding kimono displayed over our bed. It is all hand-stitched silk, red (as wedding kimonos are) and has his name in the silk patterned lining like a watermark.

    8.11.08 · Reply
  2. VALERIE wrote:

    Hi, I have a Kansai sweater like the one pictured in your montage and it is listed on Ebay right now. I thought you’d like to know. The item number is
    200280017783 I love your site! Val

    11.24.08 · Reply
  3. Cathy wrote:

    Hi! we love your store, we have an amazing Kansai Yamamoto vintage sweater on our store! it is in excellent condition with a superb design. Please be sure to check it out!
    Best regards,

    1.1.09 · Reply
  4. mrjyn wrote:

    you were the fourth entry down but i didn’t see it till after i’d posted your videe for you. and the second link is a translated link to his site straight to the kabuki and other collections

    3.23.09 · Reply
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  6. Hi! we love your store, we have an amazing Kansai Yamamoto vintage sweater on our store! it is in excellent condition with a superb design. Please be sure to check it out!

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