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Punk Yukata from Tsukikageya

Design, Fashion, Japan, Traditional Japan

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I’ve discussed the kimono revival before, because I always get excited when I see traditional Japanese dress being interpreted in innovative ways. And this is exactly what designer Natsuki Shigeta has done with her brand Tsukikageya. Yukata are light cotton kimono’s usually worn at festivals during the summer months, so they can be worn more casually than  most kimono which are worn only at formal occasions. It’s this freedom that Tsukikageya designer Natcuki Shigeta has exploited, creating beautiful yukata crafted using traditional method but adorned with contemporary motifs. With designs ranging from animal print, ghosts and pouting lips, and accessories in bright pink, using swarovski crystals and real snake skin, you’re sure to stand out.

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Urban Growth: The Work of Marumiyan

Art, Design, Japan

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Marumiyan is a Japanese illustrator and designer known for his beautiful and intricate work. His portfolio is extensive, and the quality of the work so high, that I’ve had to divide it into separate posts. Last month I focussed on his beautiful landscapes, but this time I’m just showcasing some general work from his portfolio.

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Japan Trends: Hime Gyaru

Fashion, Japan

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Hime Gyaru is a new look gaining popularity in Tokyo. Somewhere in between the fashions of Lolita and Gyaru, Hime Gyaru (literally Princess Girls) aim to look a bit like Barbie. The cynic in me can’t help but notice that it’s taken the worst of both looks and combined them: mixing the ridiculous hair and make-up  of the Gyaru with candy-pink and huge bows taken from Lolita fashion.

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Pic of the Day: Kegadol Lolita

Comics, Anime & Manga, Fashion, Japan

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The Kegadol fetish has been around ever since Rei Ayanami managed to turn bandages in a fashion statement. Literally meaning “injured idol”, the Kegadol look features casts, eye-patches and surgical masks, often worn with ironic effect.

The image is by Mihara Mitsukaze from her work Alice Addict via Aethereality.

Nippon Vogue: Stranger in a Strange Land

Fashion, Japan, Photography, Traditional Japan

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These intriguing images are from the Nippon Vogue article “Stranger in a Strange Land” published October 2008. Although the concept is simple enough, the juxtapositioning of French and Italian couture against traditional kimonos reveals unexpected similarities.

The effect is to make contemporary fashion strange, with the body it idealizes as just as artificial and standardised as a geisha’s mask. The images are also hauntingly beautiful, a paradox which points to the essence of what fashion is: artifice.

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Pic of the Day: Farewell Alexander McQueen

Design, Fashion, Pic of the Day

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I only learned rather late about the death of Alexander McQueen. While I’ve never been particularly interested in his work, preferring street fashion to couture, I do remember being mesmerized by this image when I first saw it. Even now, years later, my reaction hasn’t changed: it’s beautiful but grotesque. It’s the kind of thing I love, the mixing of cultures with a personal aesthetic. Farewell Alexander McQueen.

Image via PSFK.

I favor street fashion over couture

Designer Karim Rashid’s Candyfloss Home

Design

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I couldn’t resist posting these pictures of designer Karim Rashid’s home. After all he lives in a candy-coated, fantastic-plastic bubble world… with his wife? While Rashid is both loved and loathed for his gaudy style, I can’t help but admire his dedication to the look.

You can check out his official website here.

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Momoji: Adorable Message Dolls

Design, Japan

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Momiji are hand-painted resin message dolls inspired by Japanese Kokeshi, with each doll containing a tiny folded card for your own secret message. Momoji challenged the photography students of the Chelsea College of Art and Design to create beautiful images of Momiji dolls and these photographs are the result. Heidi Coleman and Jacqueline Colley were the overall winners having hand crafted this quirky doll house and then capturing it in film.

Check out the official Momji website here.

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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Lolo Veleko

Art, Fashion

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Nontsikelelo “Lolo” Veleko is an acclaimed fine art photographer known for her depiction of South African street style. Her work strongly resembles Shoichi Aoki’s Fruits .

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Pecanpals: Wooden Designer Toys

Art, Design

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Peacanpals is a range of wooden designer toys  by husband and wife duo Nick and Candy, who work collectively under the name Noferin. While the use of wood for designer toys is unusual, the material compliments the character’s simple organic forms and gives the toys warmth and personality. Hand crafting and the use of sustainable rubber tree wood also gives these toys a lasting value unusual in the realm of popular culture.

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