On the 7th day of the NY Fashion Week 2011 A/W, February 16th, I have a fashion stage in collaboration with Susan Cianciolo, a NY –based fashion designer and artist. On the invitation poster/card, my name was listed as “Special collaboration with Kimonohiro (The nickname of Hiromi Asai)”. I had not heard that my name would be listed on the poster; I was very pleased and surprised.
All the photos on our stage are now published on the web site of Vogue Italia.
Susan used the fabrics made at Hinaya Inc. in Nishijin, Kyoto, Japan and designed her Western-style clothes from these Japanese fabrics. She stayed in Kyoto for about a month last November.
Since she would like to describe her world-view inspired by Japanese culture, she chooses me for a stylist of her fashion show during the NY Fashion Week.
Four days before the fashion show, Susan abruptly told me “I have a good idea that the models in kimono style appear on the stage.” She asked me to coordinate and prepare kimonos for two models and Susan.
When we met and discussed about the show at her studio on the following day, I brought the kimono photos. As our show is named as “When Buildings Meet the Sky”, I selected the kimono colors and designs related to the sky that she would imagine. When I showed these photos, she said “Great! Great I leave them to you.” That was her immediate decision.
Thus, the pink (or light lilac, Benifuji in Japanese) kimono which the first model on the show wore is actually my kimono. I had not been able to image that my kimono would be presented on the stage at NY Fashion Week and published on the web page of Vogue Italia.
This kimono was fully custom-made, ordered color staining from the white fabric, at the Japanese draper’s (Kimono) shop. I loved this fabric because of the splendid woven patterns. As you seen on the photo, it looks pink, but if we compare this real color with standard pink color, we can identify it as lilac color. This color seems chic, so if I change the color of Hakkake, inside cloth used around cuff and hem, to quiet color, I could love to wear it in my older age.
Because this kimono had been ordered from the color staining and tailored, I was impressed by this appearance at the New York Fashion Week, as if I was watching my child to grow up. I coordinated pastel-colored Obi sash and Obi Age bustle with Susan’s image of sky.
The photo shows the discussion with Susan at the back stage. The woman wearing a red dress is Susan Cianciolo. The back stage was exactly a battle field.
However, a battle began before the day of the show.
Originally, Susan had asked me to tie long wide belts to her designed clothes like Obi sashes. But during the preliminary discussion three days before the show, she showed me just middle-length textiles like stoles. I told her “They’re impossible to tie like Obi. Then telling me “Can you use them?”, she brought me a dozen of long textiles which looked like pre-tailored Obi. Susan told me “You may select either of them for your styling to fit my designed dresses.” I was wondering if her design of the dressed changes right before the show. I realized that her creation is novel and variable. I determined to enter to the back stage earlier on the day of the show, for doing my best to fulfill her requests even if she could ask me at the last minute.
Right before I came to the stage, Susan proposed me to dress a child in kimono. I replied her negatively, and then she abandoned her new plan. She brought me endless surprises. Since she generates imaginative ideas until just before the show, I realize that Susan is really able to create and design innovative fashion that reaches the artistic level.
At last, I dressed 3 models including Susan in my selected and coordinated kimonos and stylized 5 models in Susan’s dress and my creations like Obi tying. In summary, I made styling for 8 models.
Although I had come to the stage at 6PM, I continued to dress Susan in my kimono on the back stage at 9PM, even after the show started.
I chose an orange-colored kimono for Susan. When we had discussed about the selection of her kimono and Obi at first, she didn’t imagine the orange color as the “Sky” color. I brought to her studio the picture book of the famous Japanese artist, Taikan Yokoyama, and showed her the Fuji Mountain painting with shadow of the sun. As I suggested her that Japanese sky sometimes demonstrates such a beautiful orange color, she seemed impressed and told me “Amazing!” Thereby we were able to select the kimono she wore.
Each of her clothes had theme and story. Susan explained them to me in detail. I selected all the Obi (or Obi-shaped textiles) as she imagined and improvised various original sash-tying styles. This picture displays one of the sash-tying styles which I created. The Obi trails on the ground are completely original. Susan wanted to express a great power which connects all of existence through this fashion. Hearing from her, I imaged fundamental power of the world and expressed it with gold Obi-like long textile, representing Golden Rice Plant. To make this style, I combined two different Obi and fabric. She said to me "SUGOINE ("wonderful" in Japanese)". I was very satisfied.
The following pictures show five of my stylized fashion in Susan’s dress and my (Obi) sash tying.
Three months ago, Susan directly contacted me. We met and discussed several times. Susan told me “I need your inspiration.” Then we collaborated on the fashion show. Through this collaboration, I have been receiving a lot of her inspiration. I appreciate her for providing me such a great opportunity.