| TOKYO, March 21
TOKYO, March 21 Leather, fur and kimono-like
draped fabric met in bold fusion on Thursday as designer Hiroko
Koshino showed off skills honed through decades of rivalry with
her two sisters, both also designers in a fashion family
spanning several generations.
Koshino's collection, "Floral Memories," was a highlight of
the final days of Japan Fashion Week, showing the autumn and
winter collections of 2013-14, which ends this week.
Koshino, at 76 one of Japan's more enduring internationally
known designers, featured flowers and combined her
characteristic look of draped and folded fabrics recalling
traditional kimonos and centuries-old textile patterns with
accents of sequins and pink.
Short, sheath-like dresses in bright colors were paired with
quilting, leather and touches of fur. She accentuated loose gray
dresses with elbow-length leather gloves and epaulets.
"I wanted to consider what's beautiful in the world, and
that's flowers. My version of flowers isn't romantic but rather
a vision of art," she said in an interview.
"I wanted to give the clothing the suggestion of flower buds
swelling, draping and rounded at the shoulders."
Koshino is the eldest of three daughters. Her father, a
tailor, died in World War Two and she was raised by her mother,
who ran a clothing store. Her bent towards fashion was
encouraged by her mother, who fostered a competitive atmosphere
All three girls - Hiroko, Junko and Michiko Koshino - became
famous in the fashion industry, with Junko developing strong
ties with China and Michiko basing herself in London. They were
the subject of a TV series on Japanese broadcaster NHK that ran
from 2011 to 2012.
Koshino's daughter Yuma is also a designer and will be
showing her Yuma Koshino brand on March 22.
"It's always Asian with me. This is an idiosyncrasy of
mine," Koshino said. "But I try for a new fusion of East and
Asia has been a key theme of the week, with designers taking
aim at Chinese consumers who have become the world's leading
buyers of luxury goods, accounting for a quarter of the market
globally, according to a report by consulting firm Bain & Co.
Although growth in China slowed last year, Bain is still
forecasting growth of 4 percent to 6 percent a year for the
global luxury market through 2015. It grew 10 percent in 2012 to
about $280 billion, mainly driven by Chinese consumers.
Earlier in the week, Chinese-born Vivienne Tam presented a
collection that fused Asian influences with modern styles with
lots of reds reminiscent of the vermilion of traditional China.
"I was inspired by the conceptual underpinnings of the punk
movement," she said in a statement. "Questioning the status quo
and celebrating individuality but also uniting in our cultural
identities, embracing paradox and life's essence: yin and yang."
Red dresses with inserts of leather fell straight from the
shoulder, while others bore cartoonish prints. Jackets with a
hint of a military cut were paired with slender black trousers.
Leather also featured prominently, whether in red or black
leather shirts or black leather lines as accents on dresses.
(Editing by Doina Chiacu)