Tuesday, March 2, 2010

pattern love

The combinations of pattern and decoration here fascinate me. The most interesting examples are in fashion and ceramics, especially the combinations in kimono outfits.

Hiroko (top two photos) is one the fashionistas of the art scene I find myself in (which means I assume there are many art scenes and I know I have not seen many of them). The top photo is from an Åbäke event last Sunday. The jacket is one she bought as a student in the 80’s- it’s a bone gabardine with heavy hot pink screen-printed design- no label. The skirt would not have been one I would have chosen but I can see how it fits with the aesthetic here.

The second photo is of her wearing a very interesting scarf. The green spotted fabric is shear voile, and the yellow, green brown check is soft wool. Again two patterns you don’t normally see together- spots and checks, and two fabrics that are not a usual match- the light weight voile with a medium weight wool. It works though.

The bottom two photos are of a lovely lady I meet in the second hand kimono store on Aoyama Dori, which is the main road out in front of the residency. I went in two weeks ago after a particularly frustrating encounter trying to buy a ticket and hotel to Hakone. It was the right thing to do to put me back into the positive connections you can make in Tokyo.

It seemed to me that although she was dressed very traditionally that her energy made the kimono very contemporary. I went in and had a look around, and as I was leaving I took a second look at a jacket. She encouraged me to put it on and then when I pointed out an especially beautiful kimono, but said I would not buy it because it need to be worn for what it was created: a coming of age celebration; not to be cut up to be more conventionally worn in a western country. She agreed but said I should try it on so she could take my picture in it- Very nice! She chose an interesting obi with a lot of gold thread work. I asked how the choices where made- what patterns go with what? She found it hard to answer and she it took a while to understand it, that beginners make mistakes.

She asked me where I was from and when I told her Australia- she said ah summer! And that she wanted to go to Australia to go surfing. She said look at my tan line- and held out her wrist pointing to where her full body wet suit ended. Japanese can be so cool.


  1. Only yesterday I was visualising pattern mania, and when I read this, I so identify. They know how to mix alright,it is very inspiring. I want to see photos of YOU!!!

  2. yes i know I should post but you know how I hate pictures of myself... seemed a touristic but will put on flickr. x