JH Phrydas

for Bunka at Matsuda

“New York and Tokyo. Nan and Myself. Woman and Man. They sound very difference but actually they are the same. They belong to the same place where the clothes I make do.”

                    – Yukio Kobayashi

“I don’t know. I never thought fashion was about selling clothes. I always thought of it as something fun and glamorous. I forget it’s about retail.”

                    -Nan Goldin

Raw. Unflinching. Vulnerable.

Nan Goldin is a photographer of the demimonde. Her images gleam with the raw essence of those caught by her gaze: defiant drag queens at the club, friends intimately entwined in bed, herself beaten by her boyfriend or detoxing from heroin. Goldin’s photographs are documents of visceral life, oscillating between ecstasy and misery, passion and indifference.

There’s a fragility in her work that underscores the defiance of her subjects. Through Goldin’s images, we catch a glimpse of humanity as both precarious and vibrantly alive—raw yet beautiful, the way a melancholy tune can haunt us and, like a lullaby, bring us calm. These are people caught within society’s game of definitions—“man” “woman” “healthy” “sick” “good” “bad” “rich” “poor”—and, in facing the camera, defy those definitions.

Simply by being seen.

Goldin’s photographs demand us to be just as unflinching, to stare into our shared condition. We, too, possess a fleeting beauty on the surface of our fragile yet powerful bodies.

In 1996, Yukio Kobayashi chose Goldin to create images for Matsuda’s fall/winter collection. Bridging the chasm between personal style and high fashion, art and life, this collection, they created Naked New York, a fashion catalogue that, like Goldin’s subjects, defies boundaries by claiming they don’t exist. Matsuda’s fashions blend seamlessly with the personal clothing of the friends and models Goldin used for her subjects. They exude Matsuda’s androgynous elegance, embodying the spirit of the collection’s ideology: clothing that enhances the wearer’s beauty and power. 

Images from Naked New York include model James King, Lypsinka, and Guy Furrow. They appeared as ads in Interview and Paper Magazine. Naked New York was awarded the silver medal from The Art Directors Club 76th Annual Awards in 1997.



“Getting Real at Matsuda” by Constance C.R. White in The New York Times, June 11, 1996.

[No Title] by Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times, Sept 22, 1996.

“90s Attitude, Visual and Raw” by Amy Spindler in The New York Times, Nov 26, 1996.

Nan Goldin Press Kit by The Collective Shift, 2018. Chapter 1