Beautiful Ghost: An Asiatica Film

Dear Friends and Fans of Asiatica,

To launch our holiday season we bring you a video which we made about our clothing. The idea was to convey visually — without words — the essence of our work transforming kimono into our clothing.

The project was conceived and executed by Don Freeman, to whom we are grateful for the collaboration.

Apropos ‘Kimono Refashioned: 1870s-Now!,’ a current exhibition at Newark Art Museum (see link) is all about the kimono and its inspirations. As you perhaps know, Asiatica was inspired to make clothing because of the availability of rare and beautiful fabrics in the form of kimono. It was not the shape of the kimono itself that inspired us, but rather the ease of deconstruction of such a modular garment into about 10 meters of 12 inch fabric. If the kimono (and related shorter haori) were chosen with a discriminating eye, each could make a special garment in whatever shape we wanted.

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The shape of the kimono also led in other directions. It inspired many Japanese and other designers to think of the fabric as determining the form of the clothing rather than depending on the body for its definition. Defining waist, bust and hips was not the issue, but rather independent, architectural elements could redefine and flatter the body. Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake pioneered fabric as the main design element with a structure independent of the body. This is all part of the kimono tradition which is essentially genderless in the Western sense. Fabric — its texture, pattern and combination is everything. If you play this game with style you are fashionable.

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The fact that the fabric is the most important variable in kimono has led to the most innovative textile tradition in the world. Complex techniques for patterning fabric — ikats, tie-dyes, damasks and prints — as well as weaving techniques of extraordinary variety have left a rich heritage for modern innovators like Nuno, Issey Miyake and Asiatica.

Asiatica saw the beauty of some of these textiles as an inspiration and a perfect route to an endless variety of one-of-a-kind garments. 40 years later, we are still inspired and hoping to inspire future innovators — each partaking of this rich tradition in a different way.