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On the Riviera, fashion is a statement. Both women and men are judged on the 'label' they wear. They would also not be seen dead wearing the same clothes two years in a row. It is an endless social game, one that can never be won.



Well, this is the label I would wear with pleasure

and one of the joys of the designs is that it will

last for years due to its versatility.


The unique creations of contemporary Japanese designer Fumiko (Centre photo above) are breathtaking portable works of art. Fumiko's passion is apparent as is her desire to fuse tradition with contemporary style.
"Every time I hold the Kimono material in my hands it invokes feelings of tradition within me and I am nearly overwhelmed. The pattern or design of the Kimono material determines the beauty of the final product. It is my feeling that the material has a will of its own in connection with its final destiny. When I cut the material, I am shouldering the responsibility of guiding this will to its destination."

The history of the Kimono has always fascinated those who love elegance of line. Since the Heian period 794 -1185, when up to twelve shaded layers of silk were used for dress Kimonos to the 17th century Edo period when people's class was delineated according to their Kimono, each period has adapted styles to move with the times. Over the centuries the Kimono has been adapted to meet the needs of Japanese women. From its origins of rigid, multi-layered, heavy fabrics, the Kimono has become more user-friendly for women to work and travel in. Still, however, the proud traditions survive, the fabrics are exquisite and seasonal; the flowers and colours of the changing seasons are reflected in the Kimono fabric.

It is to this background that Fumika pays homage,
kimono0159 "I was first introduced to Chirimen in Nagahama. The Chirimen's longstanding tradition of nobility is conveyed in the heartbeats of our ancestors. I have seen many beautiful but unused materials and I have begun to understand their sadness and loneliness stemming from their neglect. I want to revive these materials and the dormant creative will of the material makers."

Fumiko designs for both men & women and I had the good fortune of seeing examples of her work. Her designs are a heady mix of luxurious silks, beautifully cut for elegance of movement, coupled with a minute attention to detail. Some designs are an ensemble which with an addition or subtraction of a layer can be adapted for either day or evening wear. Fumiko's designs are unique and either bespoke or prêt a porter. She has a studio in Japan and is expanding into the Western market. She has travelled extensively and with her artistic background has had exhibitions and lecture tours both in Japan and USA.

I first saw a Fumiko design across a crowded room in Monaco and was determined to find out more. It was a joy to meet the proud wearer, Dr. Elizabeth Borner -Mouer (Right photo above), member of the executive committee for the Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce who kindly effected an introduction to Fumika at the Hotel Hermitage. I had the great honour of meeting Fumiko and not only seeing her designs, but also trying them on. The experience has spoiled me for High Street fashion for ever. It was pure aesthetic pleasure.


Japanese Summer In Monaco - Grimaldi Forum - 14th July until 12th September 2010

Feature contributed by Wendy on June 29, 2010 at 3:18 pm.

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