3/28/2010

Enjoyable photo shooting

I am now preparing to create new kimono fashion photos. I will create them with a famous make-up artist, who is active on fashion shows in New York, Milan, and Paris. I met him at the previous photo shooting for ads at the end of last year. I am looking forward to creating our work with him soon.

Last November, I attended the photo shooting as a kimono stylist for the ads of KDDI America Mobile. Ms Ai Kago, previously belonging to a famous Japanese singer group “Morning Musume (Girls)”, was featured on the ads. This photo, which has already been used for ads, shows Ai Kago. I was sitting next to her.
I felt my heart beat fast, when I met Ai Kago, a very popular talent in Japan as Kago-chan. Many tall and slim models, more than 180 cm tall, have helped us for creating our pieces in New York City. We want to create unique and novel pieces, while they also dream to become world-top models. I have though that it seemed like dream to make test photo-shooting with such wonderful models, but when I met Ai, I was deeply impressed by her presence as a popular singer. After this photo-shooting, I desire to have a chance to dress Hollywood stars in kimono style.
This photo was one that was taken on the day of the photo shooting for the use of renewal of my web pages. The doctor and technician of my husband’s lab, and the lawyer and advertising company worker who are friends of Emiko, my business partner, helped us as models for our photo shooting. Kimono educed inner beauty from people, active in the front lines. Although they are not Japanese, they wore kimono quite naturally, which impressed me. Emiko said to me, “Kimono is really wearing thing.”

A photographer, Masahiro Noguchi, took our photos. He also took photos for the interview from the Japanese kimono magazine last year. His works look heartwarming, so I asked him for the renewal of our web pages. Photo shooting is really enjoyable. Whenever we enjoy photo shooting, we could create good works.
This photo shows that Emiko and I were making sarashi clothes for controlling models’ body shapes. I made the models’ bodies flat to wrap them.

It was really enjoyable photo shooting with all of them. Thank you very much!

3/05/2010

Nagoya-obi: created by a career woman


A student of my kimono class asked me why Nagoya-obi is called “Nagoya”.

I had not yet questioned such a thing. Is it because Nagoya is famous for obi-weaving machines, or Nagoya is a famous area of obi production? I didn’t know the correct answer, so I studied it. Then, I was surprised to know the history and origin of Nagoya obi. One career woman created Nagoya obi about 100 years ago with rational thinking mind and functional fashion sense.

In the Taisho period (1912–1926), predominant obi style was Maru (round) obi or Chuya (day-and-night) obi. Maru-obi, having decorations and designs on both sides, is heavy and big enough to produce two Nagoya-obis. At that time, although feminist movement arose, most women lived in traditional kimono style.
Ms. Haruko Koshihara, who created Nagoya-obi, was extremely busy setting up Nagoya girls' school (current Koshihara Educational Foundation). Since she had no remaining time to tie obi, she raveled Maru obi or Chuya obi, which requires long time to tie, and created new-formed light obi, which requires short time to tie.
Haruko realized that women need to shorten time for dress-up to be active in society as similar as men. Thinking that even Nagoya-obi requires longer time to tie, she further created Tsuke (ready-made) obi for saving time for dress-up.
I had thought that Tsuke-obi was created more recently, because now most women had little chance to know how to tie obi, while surprisingly; it was created about 90 years ago for the purpose of shortening dress-up time for women’s social advancement.
At that time, Harko’s rational spirit was not accepted immediately. However, in 1920, the department store, Nagoya Mitsukoshi, focused attention on her obi, imitated it, and put it on the market. This obi was named as Nagoya-obi after Nagoya girls' school, which she founded. And this Nagoya-obi became popular rapidly all over Japan.
Now it is difficult to imagine that Nagoya-obi was created for shortening dress-up time by one career woman, because kimono style is far from the ordinary style. But thanks to Nagoya-obi, now we can easily coordinate various kimono fashions. We could never imagine casual Tumugi pongee kimono with Maru-obi.

This is one of Nagoya-obi I have, which is tailored in Nagoya-obi style. One of my students learned how to fold it, saying that it looks like a head of squid. Really Nagoya-obi should resemble a head of squid.