Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Masters of the Needle | Kota Shimamura


The mild afternoon of the 1 of January 2012 was the right time to turn the page to a new chapter. After waking up in the middle of the day, we somehow felt utterly relaxed, despite the long and glittery night running on festive treats. Looking forward to the rendezvous, we knew that any delay for a scheduled appointment with Japanese is unacceptable. Rushing through Paris, we got to the Le Marais a.k.a The Marsh - the oldest part of the city that hosts many opulent mansions and has become home for most of the top fashion brand showrooms.

Wearing a 10 minutes delay on our forehead, we found ourselves grinning like the Cheshire cat in front of our friends, who were waiting patiently for us to appear. All the inconvenience faded away, as soon as we got to talk to Kota, who seemed calm and rooted, gazing through his round-frame Tom Ford spectacles.

Headed towards a random pavement café, we found our spot on "Rue Francs Bourgeois" Street,just opposite those jolly fellows, where we could soak all the artistic scenery and good vibrations surrounding us.

Kota Shimamura

Kota Shimamura just turned 23 the other day. It's been already 3 years since he moved to Paris where he graduated the fashion design programme of ESMOD - Paris.

"You know, originally I thought I was going to graduate fashion design in ESMOD (international fashion university group) - Osaka, but after 2 years there, I realized I needed to widen my sources of inspiration, because in Osaka the main emphasis was on technique and construction" Kota offers while scrolling through his graduation project on his mobile phone.  

As seen from Kotas' graduation collection below, the specific Japanese aesthetic is dictated in his designs. The rise and hype of Japanese fashion is credited to a league of  influential designers like Rei Kawabuko, Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake, a.k.a. "The Big Three",  that have wield considerable clout on the global fashion market.

Kota incorporates modern sportswear constructions and finishing details to achieve an effortless, street chic look, preserving femininity in a package of comfort and polished elegance.

The design of accessories is another tool in the possession of this emerging designer, who gives the finishing touch to his looks by creating compelling attributes in coherence with the story in his mind. 

Kota notes that currently his main work is focused on the brand COMMUUN.

 "After my graduation, I joined the team of Kaito and Iku, where I draw patterns and create designs that underpin much of my own concept for aesthetics."

Paris based Commuun was founded in 2005 by Japanese designers Kaito Hori and Iku Furudate.Commuun's collections are minimalist, structural, nature inspired and made with environmentally sustainable materials. The label is also known for it's elegant draping and light, airy feel.

The garment is designed by Kota Shimamura and illustrates his unique perspective on construction

Kota Shimamura places emphasis for his admiration of Balenciaga (not to be mistaken with what is called Balenciaga today). It is master Cristobal Balenciaga that is the object of inspiration. In the 50s and 60s Cristobal ran the greatest couture house of the time. Christian Dior himself named Balenciaga "The Master of us all".
What drags Kotas' eye on the great Parisian master is the three-dimensional sculpture of forms - an approach that he vividly follows, finding its appearance in the style of old Parisian ladies.

1950's supermodel Dovima shot by Richard Avedon in 1955 in Paris wearing Balenciaga

YSL HOMME is another staple on the board of inspiration:

The entry of Japanese designers into the French fashion scene has put its roots back in the 1970s and ever since the infusion is present. France offers legitimization for imported talent on a worldwide platform. Shimamura is a representative of the nouvelle vague - the new generation of Japanese masters and we are going to keep an eye on him for sure. Emerging from a highly technological environment, Shimamura is in the list of tomorrows big players. It's all up to his will, how far he will go in the ranking. Let there be fair play for Kota and his peers.  

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