The findings from the book “Kimono Story” by Kitsukeshi, Shohei Nezu Part 1

Approximately two months ago, in June, I got the request of my work as a kimono stylist from one of the wealthy couple in US.
The couple wanted to wear kimono when they attended at the party.
I was in charge of selection of kimono that complied with the purpose of the party.

I visited their home for the try-on of kimono, bringing several kimonos and obis.
At that time, the wife still wondered whether to wear a kimono at the party.
When I work for kimono in USA, unfortunately, I meet many people imagining kimono as “hard, heavy, and hot (or cold)”.

One reason why many people imagine kimono as hot or cold is that kimono has been thought as all-season dress
Kimono is made by various fabrics suitable for each season. Kimono’s various patterns represents seasons. But I feel regret that a sense of seasons in kimono is not understood by many people.

Finally, the couple wore kimono all together at the party, and I finished work for it.
After this work, I want to re-read the book “Kitsukeshi Ichidai: Kimono Katari”, meaning One Kimono Dresser Life: Kimono Story, by Shohei Nezu. The photo shows the cover of this book.

I respect him as a kimono dresser very well.
He worked in the world of theatrical performance. He selected the kimono for actors and dressed them properly in kimono.
The preface of this book says “We become professional and independent after we got trusted by actors.”

I agree with his opinion through my work this time. I convince that a professional, such as Mr. Nezu is a kimono stylist.
The kimono stylist should get trust from clients not only to dress them in kimono, but also to choose kimono in conformity with the occasions.
I think that the total coordination from choosing kimono for the occasion to dressing up clients individually seems one story. I would like to be a kimono stylist who makes one story similar as Mr Nezu did.

Mr. Nezu said in the book that the work of a kimono dresser is to help clients to put on kimono beautifully, without pain and rigor, and not worn out of the shape.
While I work as a kimono stylist, I was very pleased to hear from one of my clients, “I had just bad memories about kimono. Kimono wearing used to be very tight, but I did not feel tight this time. Though I have worn a kimono all days, I did not get disheveled and did feel comfortable.”

I need propose kimono styling in USA as comfortable kimono dressing as well as total coordination that varies from seasons and weathers.


Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week SWIM 2014

The swimsuit shows of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week were held at South Beach in Miami.
I don't know if there are some similarities between kimono and swim suites, but I received several invitation letters from the designers who appear at New York Fashion Week, so I attended some shows. I appreciate many invitations to the swimsuit shows from various designers.

I really enjoyed participating the shows.
The venues were located at the Raleigh Hotel. The pool of this hotel is very famous, where several movies have been shot. The upper photo was taken from the poolside of the hotel.
Two tents for the venue of fashion shows were installed in the depth of the poolside. This photo shows inside of the tent. We were able to enjoy eating and drinking on the poolside. Every attendant, bringing a glass of cocktail, talked to each other in front of the tent in a relaxed atmosphere.
The schedule of the fashion shows was concentrated at night and many of them included receptions. Tough the schedule is usually full during daytime at the New York Fashion Week, similar to a scientific conference, this fashion week for swimsuits in South Beach did not feel busy. 
Surprisingly, the fashion show of the swimsuit was more elegant than I had imagined. 
I was impressed by the impact with vivid colors as well as the punchy designs. Some swimsuits are designed in combination with hat or sandals.
On second thought, as the shapes of the swimsuit are limited, I think it's difficult for designers to express her/his identity in the fashion and make trendy business products, but this kind of challenge seems attractive.

At the shows, some models wore not only swimsuits, but also summer dresses on swimsuits.
Interestingly, we often wear long-sleeve dresses in hot summer with long sunshine hours. It's because we avoid tanning. It's also because we feel cooler in long-sleeve dresses than in short-sleeve ones, as long-sleeve can shut out the direct solar light.

So, I think that a summer kimono "Sha" is nice in hot humid summer.
When I wore a summer kimono “Sha”, someone talked to me, "Do you feel hot? Do you feel heavy?" But I recall that one of my seniors at the tea ceremony class in Japan said, "Kimono feels cool." I want to dress in kimono stylishly like her as well as propose and introduce summer "cool" kimono in this country, USA.


The following photos were taken at MINIMALE ANIMALE show. I felt that these styles look powerful and punchy. She is a very popular designer.

The swimsuit fashion show was full of pleasure at the wonderful place.


Trilogy of Geisha series : Attending the production by Laurie Simmons

I undertook the production of Geisha Series Three Parts of Love Doll by Laurie Simmons, a New York-based artist and photographer, who is active and famous internationally.
I worked with her for the third time on Oct 19th and 20th, 2011.
Laurie asked me to coordinate kimono styling as well as to arrange hair and makeup to the doll.

A makeup artist, Kimiyuki Misawa, participated in the second and third part of this Geisha series. He not only performed white make-up to the love doll like a Geisha, but also made arrangement of the hair set to the Japanese wig as Laurie asked.

Now I would like to write the third episode of Geisha production to the love doll in my blog because her exhibition “The Love Doll” was held in Japan and her photo book was published this year. When I looked over this book, I read with interest the inside story how she had found us and asked us this production.
The upper photo shows a cover of the book entitled ”The Love Doll Days 1-36”. This photo demonstrates one page of this book where the doll wears a purple kimono. For this photo, I worked as a kimono stylist for the third time.

I think that the third part was the best among the Geisha series.
The purple kimono is a real Hiki-gi, which means a long trailing kimono that Geishas had worn.
Laurie's assistant had a beautiful tattoo on her back, where a woman wearing purple kimono was drawn. Laurie requested us to make the love doll the similar image.
I was surprised at Laurie’s idea. I was also interested in Laurie's viewpoint.
Confused by her request, I tried to meet with her request and finally understood her imagination.

This purple Hiki-gi kimono looked powerful. It was difficult to create an appropriate expression to the kimono on the love doll. I tried to dress the love doll in the kimono with certain expression. The makeup by Kimiyuki Misawa had a tremendous impact, so I did my best and made my kimono styling competitive to his makeup.
These photo show the finished product in her studio. The love doll seemed like a Geisha with soul.

Laurie was out during our production. She came back to her studio when we completed our production of the Geisha-style love doll. She said "Hiro, which is the best in our Geisha series?" I answered to her "Of course, this is the best." She replied "I think so, too." 

Laurie is a visual artist. After taking pictures of this Geisha-style love doll, we removed makeup, took off the wig from the doll's head, and tore off the kimono from the doll's body which weighed about 50kg. Finally I brought back all items. That was very simple. 
The only thing I did was that I was producing materials of the work which live only in photographs, just as if I was building sand castles on the beach.
When I looked over the Laurie's book, I thought that I had never built sand castles on the beach, but had created something because my work continues to live as "Art" in her photographs.

I heard that her exhibition “THE LOVE DOLL DAY 1-36“ was very popular in Japan.
Congratulations heartily.

The makeup artist, Kimiyuki Misawa, was just making up to the doll's face in the last photo. When I see this photo, I think that he seemed to make up to a real lady.

These blog articles were published related to the previous two productions with Laurie Simmons.