The Young at Art Museum's "Love! Love! Japan!" festival this Saturday will be very pink, very cute and, yes, it will include Hello Kitty.
Organizers are transforming the museum into a pop-up fashion district choked with candy-coated decor, Japanese anime characters, a 6-9 p.m. dance party (called a "dansu paatii") and Harajuku street fashion, a glammed-up style blending schoolgirl attire, goth, punk, hot-pink accents and glitter.
Think of a love child between Hello Kitty and a sprinkle-covered doughnut. It's that colorful.
A vanguard of the teen-inspired Harajuku style in the late 1990s, pop-fashion designer Sebastian Masuda will deliver a lecture on the history of kawaii, the cute subcategory of the fashion he helped popularize in the Tokyo pedestrian district of Harajuku, organizer Yumina Myers says.
"It will be insanely pink," Myers says of the event. "Mr. Masuda is all about street culture, all about teenagers creating handmade fashion as a freedom of expression. He was a game-changer."
Myers says Masuda's appearance, sponsored by the Japan Foundation and the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami, is designed to spread awareness about Harajuku fashion, which dwindled in popularity during the '90s. Masuda opened a kawaii fashion store, 6%DokiDoki, at age 25 and has been the style's cultural ambassador ever since. Masuda's pop-fashion influence has spread from Japanese anime to the music videos of J-pop singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
"Harajuku was a dying phenomenon, and he helped rejuvenate it," Myers says. "He is a liaison to the teenagers of the world, the Internet and Japan."
In addition to the 2 p.m. lecture, which is free with RSVP, there will be Harajuku fashion dress-up stations; Japanese candies provided by Tate's Comics; bites from RA Sushi; J-pop spinning by Radio-Active Records; and a demonstration of Raku, a Japanese clay-firing technique. The event, Myers says, also serves as a precursor to an exhibition of Japanese pop animation slated to open July 5 at Young at Art, titled "Japan: Kingdom of Characters," which will feature displays of Pokémon, Hello Kitty and Gundam.
"Japanese pop fashion keeps us young. The characters and the clothing give us freedom to express the secret cuteness that connects us all together," she says.
"Love! Love! Japan!" will take place 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at Young at Art Museum, 751 SW 121st Ave., in Davie. Admission is free with $11-$14 museum admission. The dance party costs an additional $15 ($5 party discount and $1 off admission if you come wearing Harajuku attire). Call 954-424-0085 or go to YoungatArtMuseum.org.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun