5/30/2011

Photo Shooting with HINAYA Obi and WAFRICA Kimono

When I produced kimono fashion shows in Europe, I had opportunities to use HINAYA KYOTO Obi and WAFRICA Kimono. WAFRICA is a kimono brand designed by Mr. Serge Mounage.
Photo Provided by Thomas Laurien
This picture was taken on the kimono fashion show held at Gothenburg, Sweden. I selected for the model WAFRICA Kimono and obi with HINAYA’s gold fabric, which is originally made for obi.

I have wanted to make photo shoot featuring WAFRICA kimono since our kimono fashion shows. I thought it will be cool to stylize this kimono as an UCHIKAKE kimono (wedding kimono). I talked to Serge about my plan and asked him if I could rent this kimono for the photo shoot after we had finished our kimono shows in Europe. He kindly agreed to my offer. Mr. Naoto Izukura, a president of HINAYA KYOTO, also permitted me to use HINAYA obi for the photo shoot. As soon as I came back from Europe, I scheduled the photo shoot. A makeup artist Ai and photographer Teru joined this photo shoot.
We made the photo shoot in early May. This photo shows that Teru was taking pictures of the model in KAKESHITA kimono.
I believe we need to make stories in fashion photo shooting. First I stylized a white kimono called KAKESHITA, which is basically wore underneath the brides’ UCHIKAKE, and tied a white KAKESHITA OBI with HINAYA’s black fabric. Since I was planning to use WAFRICA kimono as a UCHIKAKE this time, I realize it was better to take photos of the model in just KAKESHITA as one of the stories of the photo shooting. During the photo shoot, Teru said “look and feel”. I thought his phrase fitted this photo shoot. 
I wanted to stylized WAFRICA kimono as a UCHIKAKE style, so I asked Ai to make BUNNKINN-TAKASHIMADA (gorgeous traditional bride’s hair set) for the model’s hair set. In addition, I used traditional hair accessories made by fake turtle shell. It is difficult to get real BEKKO (turtle shell) hair accessories nowadays, because they are extremely precious and expensive. As you see this photo of the traditional Japanese hair accessories, they are gorgeous and brilliant, making me happy whenever I see them.

At a later date, Teru sent me the outcome of the photo shoot. I was pleased to send them to Serge (Wafrica) and Naoto Izukura (HINAYA). I appreciate them for their corporation.

I would make a variety of the story on the photo shoot, if we could have more time, but I am satisfied.
I feel that Wafrica kimono and HINAYA obi have strong power for expression as arts and fashion. We tried to elicit a variety of expressions in limited time. And I believe we were able to complete a great job.

These two pictures are my favorite. Hope you enjoy them.

Photographer : Teru Yoshida

Photographer : Teru Yoshida

5/21/2011

Kimono Fashion Show at Van Gogh Museum

As I wrote on the previous article, I produced a kimono fashion show at Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on April 15th. I had an offer from the museum to perform a kimono workshop, named KIMONO DEMONSTRATION, as a part of the event "Van Gogh Museum and Keukenhof Celebrate Spring". This event had two parts. On the first part, I talked about 1000-year kimono history with slideshows and demonstrated how to clothe a model in twelve layered kimono (Jyunihitoe), and on another part, I produced a kimono fashion show.
This time, I would like to write about the second part of the event. Please read about the first part at my previous article.

The museum prepared a long catwalk for the kimono fashion show. As it started from the escalator, the models came up from the downstairs. The organizer on Van Gogh Museum designed the outline of the catwalk, but she left all the details of the show up to me.

Obi HINAYA KYOTO
I had expected shorter catwalk than the museum prepared. I was worried if the longer catwalk would make a fashion show dull. But to my surprise, the larger audience came to the museum than I had imagined, so the long catwalk worked really well.
Before the day of the event, the organizer showed me a picture where we were going to have a show. But I was not able to determine some of the details till the stage set up.
The main kimono of the show was twelve layered kimono (Jyuunihitoe), which weighs 25 kg (≒55 lb.), including a wig. It seems too heavy for a model to walk on the long catwalk. Finally, I decided to change the program of the show and tell the model to wait at the side of the stage and just appear at the finale of the show.
I am not a specialist of staging, but I studied Kabuki (Japanese traditional drama performed at the stage) and learned how to show the stage more dramatic. From my point of view, if we hope it has a strong impact, it is better to show it for less time. I believe twelve layered kimono has the strongest impact, so I made up my minds to show the twelve layered kimono only at the finale for short time.

The last person who walked on the catwalk was the model who wore Sokutai, a formal kimono worn by court nobles. At the grand finale, all the models re-appeared on the stage wearing twelve layered kimono (Jyunihitoe), Sokutai, various kimonos (including Furisode, Iromuji, and Kuro-Tomesode), and Montsuki-Haori-Hakama, which evoke waves of applause with a lot of flash light. It looks pretty on the picture, but actually I believe it had a huge impact on the audience. 

All these pictures were provided by Ms. Linda Kole. I appreciate Linda for her kindness.

Editing from the video of the entire show, I made a video “KIMONO DEMONSTRATION at Van Gogh Museum”.
Please enjoy it!


5/17/2011

Kimono Demonstration at Van Gogh Museum

The event "Van Gogh Museum and Keukenhof Celebrate Spring" was held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on April 15th. Last October, I got an offer from Van Gogh Museum to make the kimono demonstration for the event.
This event is a part of FRIDAY NIGHT at the museum. As you imagine, FRIDAY NIGHT was held at Friday night. I had an opportunity to make our event on April 15th, 2011. First, Mr. Shogo Kariyazaki, from Japan, demonstrated Ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement) from 6:30pm to 7:30pm. Then I produced the kimono event, named as KIMONO DEMONSTRATION, from 7:45pm to 8:20pm. It’s been a pleasure to perform our demonstration surrounded by flowers which Mr. Kariyazaki arranged. Many people came to see our event.

Our event consisted of two parts. On the first part, I talked about the over-1000-year kimono history with slideshows from 7:45pm to 8:05pm. On the other part, we produced kimono & Jyunihitoe fashion show from 8:10pm to 8:20pm.

Today, I would like to write about the first part of the event.

The twelve layered kimono (Jyunihitoe) which I demonstrated at the event was the reproduction. The princess Masako wore the original one during her wedding ceremony.
Color gradation is important for twelve layered kimono. We call this gradation as KASANE-NO-IROME (重ねの色目). Princess Masako’s wedding was held on June, so the gradation color of her kimono implied early summer. Please check the photo of the slide. 

The color gradation we showed was called “HANA-TACHIBANA.” “HANA-TACHIBANA” means flower of mandarin orange, which flourishes early summer. You may see the flower on the picture below.
Old days, Japanese sense of color is different from current one. For example, “HANA-TACHIBANA” is not a single color, but the color combinations, including deep bright yellow, bright yellow, white, green, light green. Furthermore, green was defined as one of the blue colors about 1000 years ago.
I was wondering if I could not properly tell the audience KASANE-NO-IROME (the gradation color of twelve layered kimono), because the audience was not familiar with the twelve layered kimono and KASANE-NO-IROME is thought to be complicated concept.
But fortunately, many people understood the traditional Japanese sense of color, which originated from plants, which represents that the Netherlands is a flower country.
Photo provided by Ms. Linda Kole
The twelve layered kimono (Jyunihitoe) was provided by Oume Kimono Museum, Japan. Also as an expert of the twelve layered kimono dresser, called EMONJYA in Japanese, Ms. Yoko Odashima came from Japan for this demonstration. When I had been a student of Komagome Waso Academy, she was my mentor.
The twelve layered kimono (Jyuunihitoe) is usually clothed in by two dressers, but at this event, Ms. Odashima clothed in the twelve layered kimono alone just with my assistant. She demonstrated how to clothe in upper layered kimono (Uwagi) over five-layered kimono (Itsutsu-Ginu). When I saw the pictures of the demonstration later, I was so impressed that her movement looked really beautiful. The woman you can see on the right side in the pictures is Ms. Odashima.

After she finished her procedure, she kneeled on her knees and sat down behind the Jyunihitoe model. This is a polite manner in Japan.
Photo provided by Ms. Linda Kole
I asked my mentor to stand up, but she seemed that she could not stand in front of the person in twelve layered kimono. In Japanese culture, we have to respect the person who wears twelve layered kimono and it is not a good manner to stand or even sit in front of the person in twelve layered kimono. I felt that she was really concentrated on Kitsuke, dressing kimono. Finally, Ms. Odashima stood up and bowed to the audience. The audience gave massive applause to her.

I think her beautiful movement is originated from her heart. She naturally concentrates on Kitsuke and respects the people who wear kimono, the people who make kimono, and also the kimono itself.
I realize that I need more and more training to become like her. The phrase says that the relationship between a master and his apprentice continued for life. I appreciate her very much.
Every time I overcome a challenge, I find a next new challenge.

I was back to NY the day after I performed Kimono Demonstration at Van Gogh Museum. The meeting with Ms. Odashima reminds me of love to kimono and enhances my motivation to familiarize kimono in the world. Now I am working for kimono with fresh feeling here in NY.
I really appreciate Mr. Suzuki at Oume kimono Museum. He rent us the twelve layered kimono (Jyunihitoe) for this event. I believe I can make some steps toward spreading kimono and kimono culture not only to USA, but also to the world.

This is a cover of the event brochure.

5/08/2011

Meet with Swedish textile designer

Gothenburg is the 5th largest city in Northern Europe. The day after the kimono event, I had a chance to visit Gothenburg University. I took pictures around the University. As I walked back and forth only between the hotel and museum, I had not realized that I stayed in Northern Europe before I saw this landscape.

Mr. Thomas Laurien, a researcher at Gothenburg University, helped us for our event at the Museum of World Culture. He is researching Japanese textile and design. Our company staff Sugiura contacted him and we visited the university to meet him.
He had prepared a room for us and we waited for him at the room while he brought something to drink. We found a big bread and knife on the table in the room. It looked really delicious. We wondered if we can eat it, but we waited for him patiently.
When Thomas came back with tea, he told us that he prepared the bread and berry juice for us. The bread was local specialty. He recommended us to eat it with berry juice. The berry juice was thick and sweet. I get used to sweet foods since I lived in US. But I thought this juice has rich calorie.

Thomas showed us the textile he designed. He told us that recently Japanese culture, fashion and animation are popular among young Swedish people. In his childhood, few people enjoyed making tie dye at home, but when Japanese tie-dye textile came in from Japan, tie-dye immediately become popular and famous in Sweden. Now, “Popular in Japan” or “Japanese things” are recognized as catchy things in Sweden. This story reminds me that European brands looked really cool in my childhood. I was surprised at a heightened visibility of our culture.

Using slide shows, Thomas told us what he wanted to express by his design. His textile was not made in Japan. Japanese art and design stimulated his sensitivity and he created his own world. This design title is “freedom”. The category of the design is YURAGI, meaning fluctuation. Fishes are separated by net and inside fishes and outside fishes met at the net’s whole. It looks like the fishes are inside the water and caught by the net. It was wonderful work.

He also collaborates with designer and makes his world with shape of the clothes. I remember this picture’s art theme is “King”. I saw some of the European style arts in his work.

Making these design and clothes, Thomas studies Japanese kimono history, textile technique and additionally, he has detailed knowledge of Japanese culture.

We discussed a lot about tea ceremony. I love one of the tea ceremony rooms, “ZANGETSU no MA”, meaning the room of the moon at dawn in Japanese
We cannot see moon directly in this room, while we just use full moon light indirectly during the tea ceremony. We enjoyed moon light from the roof light window, called Tsukiage Mado. At the tea ceremony, we meet with our own calm heart under the dim light from the moon. Astronomy, season, tea ceremony room and the people, all these things collaborate to make a tea ceremony. We never enjoy the same tea ceremony any more. That is really priceless. I think tea ceremony is one of the most difficult arts because we enjoy the “time” at the moment. He empathized with me. He has a sensitivity to capture a “moment” and expreses it with textile design. Indeed I had notice that he likes the word “YURAGI”.

When we left the university, we shook our hands and said “Let’s keep in touch”. I had a really good time talking with him. He reminded me of the tea ceremony and I really felt I will appreciate the present moment.
This is one of his works. You can see airplane left side of the shoulder. Is this expressing sky? From his slide show.