This year Masataka Miyanaga organised his three-day high-end workshop and lecture tour for Japanese beauty experts at Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy. The course results in a photo shoot.
He works together with his wife, Mamechiyo, who’s a key figure of the Kimono revival movement in Japan. Her kimonos are ‘like modern landscapes, where Eastern and Western worlds collide’, writes Trend Tablet.
While having lunch at the Lloyd restaurant, Miyanaga introduces Mieko Ueda, hair and make-up artist from Tokyo, and photographer Takuya Okamoto.
Mamechiyo used to organise this yearly update for the beauty experts in Japan, but since she and Miyanaga moved to Amsterdam in 2011, the Kimono photo session has been taking place in the Netherlands. ‘Many of the participants are owners of a big chain of hair & make-up dressing salons, so they want to be updated about new techniques from top kimono stylists and beauty experts in a sophisticated and enjoyable environment.’, Miyanaga explains.
Ueda shows the result of last year’s photoshoot at Pathé Tuschinski and Dam Square, which were published in IZANAGI magazine. She specialises in authentic, classic Edo period hair pieces and kimono style.
Do Japanese women wear kimonos in this highly stylised fashion for going out at the weekend?
Miyanaga: ‘No, it’s like with the Paris catwalk collections, they are worn. These are our most cutting-edge examples which shows how far fashion can evolve.’
Would Japanese Vogue devote attention to kimono fashion?
'Basically no, they just do Western fashion. The European editions are more keen to introduce Japanese kimono style than the Japanese version itself.'
But are kimonos worn nowadays?
Miyanaga: ‘Mamechiyo is actually seen as a key factor in the biggest kimono revival movement. Traditionally, kimono designs used to move with the times. Even in the sixties for instance Apollo spaceship designs were seen in kimono fashion. But then the kimono industry lost momentum by indulging in too expensive styles and producing exclusively for formal, old-fashioned wear. Since then, they were seen as ‘Gofuku’, uncool and people got more interested in Western clothing styles.'
In her shop, Mukashi-Kimono Mamechiyo (Antique kimono Mamechiyo) which opened in 1998, Mamechiyo started to show how second-hand kimonos, of the 1920s and 30s could be enjoyed with daily modern western styling. This was picked up by girls and ladies who were looking for the next fashion hit after exploring western cloths for long time. The Modern Kimono was born.
In 2003, her own brand Mamechiyo Modern was the start of developing new, contemporary kimono designs, which, interestingly, are also enjoyed by older generations. They feel Mamechiyo’s authenticy with full respect to Kimono, and they know Kimono was always there, with each atomosphere of each period before the industry stopped stepping forward.
It was natural karma that she met Mieko Ueda at the start of this, who had the same professional interest and got involved in this revival movement with her hair and beauty designs. Mieko Ueda would love to live in Amsterdam too.
Just how ‘Cool Japan’ is Mamechiyo’s course?
Stunning results of the Stunning results of the Mamechiyo-Mieko’s first session in Amsterdam 2011 have immidiately been picked up by Lidewij Edelkoort’s online ‘Trend Tablet’.
It is a success, as is Mamechiyo’s move to Amsterdam. In the same year, one of her modern kimono designs was acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, for its permanent collection.
Currently she is commissioned by the Van Gogh Museum, to design products for its new, exclusive, Van Gogh inspired line of products launching 5 September 2015 at the renewed Museum’s store. She is busy developing a pure silk kimono.