Monthly Archives: August 2017

Is ‘living doll’ Lulu Hashimoto fashion or fetish?

Meet Lulu Hashimoto, a “living doll” and the latest trend in Tokyo’s fashion modelling scene.

Lulu – a full-body doll suit consisting of a wig, a mask and stockings patterned with doll-like joints – was born from one woman’s desire to become cute. “I have always really liked dolls and for me, the epitome of cuteness is dolls,” says 23-year-old fashion designer Hitomi Komaki, who created Lulu.

Dressing up as a mascot, called kigurumi in Japanese, is a popular art form in Japan. Komaki has taken it to a new level by creating a body suit that looks like a doll and lets you move like a human.

“Many people call my project a fetish, but for me it’s not a fetish but fashion,” she says. “It’s like wearing nice clothes or putting on false eyelashes to become cuter.”

There is only one Lulu body suit, Komaki says, but dancers, designers and models are among those who have worn the costume. The identity of exactly who is inside is secret, she adds.

The stockings worn by Lulu were created by fellow fashion designer Koh Ueno, who airbrushes doll-like joints onto the material. “I want to see women wear these stockings and transform,” says 29-year-old Ueno.“I want them to experience the extraordinary – to become otherworldly, artificial, or like a doll.”

While popular among fans of Japanese subculture, Lulu is now turning heads at the annual Miss iD beauty pageant where she’s among the 134 semi-finalists chosen from around 4,000 entrants.

The pageant, which includes ”non-human” characters generated by artificial intelligence and three-dimensional computer graphics for the first time, will announce a winner in November.

Lulu’s ability to blur the line between reality and fiction has mesmerised fans on social media, where the Lulu Twitter and Instagram accounts have drawn tens of thousands of followers.

“I find it miraculous that dolls and humans – two things that exist in different planes – are standing in the same space,” says Erika Kato, 24, who met Lulu for the first time at a recent fan event.

The possibility of wearing a suit and becoming Lulu also appealed to fans like 22-year-old Miu Shimoda. “I’d like to be a beautiful girl like Lulu at least once in my life,” she says.Read more at:formal dresses canberra | orange formal dresses

Princess Diana’s Life In Fashion

The dresses tell the story of a life cut short: first the frilly debutante frocks Princess Diana wore before she married Prince Charles, then the elaborate gowns that stunned the world, and finally the power suits she favoured shortly before her death.

It’s been 20 years since Diana died in a Paris car crash at the age of 36, but the public’s fascination with her life – and her clothes – lives on. A new exhibition that opened recently at Kensington Palace, her home for many years, will give the public a chance to see extraordinary fashion pieces up close for the first time.

The workmanship is refined, some of the designs are simple in concept and execution, while others clearly took careful thought and meticulous preparation.

One room features designers’ sketches for Diana dresses, offering insight into the vision behind many of her choices.

Deirdre Murphy, senior curator at the Historic Royal Palaces, said Diana was unique in the way she used clothes to communicate – and also a risk-taker willing to challenge the unwritten conventions of royal dress. She said Diana captured the “mystique” of being a princess even as she occasionally dressed down in jeans and a baseball hat.

“Somehow women all over the world saw a piece of themselves in the princess,” the curator said. “She got her image across and her ideas across using clothing in a really sophisticated, really smart, really thoughtful way.”

The display opens with a lacy party dress Diana wore to a ball at her family home, Althorp, in 1979 and includes many of her most famous outfits. Here are some of the most illustrious:


Diana was married to Prince Charles, and a guest of President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, but that didn’t stop her from tearing up the dance floor with John Travolta at a White House state dinner in 1985.

Photographers of Diana and the dashing young Travolta dominated newspapers throughout the world, showcasing the midnight blue silk velvet evening dress designed by Victor Edelstein. It remains one of her most famous outfits.


Catherine Walker, who died in 2010, became one of Diana’s favourite designers. To prepare for an official visit to Hong Kong in 1989, she designed a strapless white silk crepe and jacket embroidered with sequins and pearls. Its sparkly look, and high collar, reminded fashion writers of the jump suits favoured by Elvis Presley late in his career.

She looked resplendent in the outfit, topping it with a jewelled tiara.


Diana turned to Emanuel, designer of her wedding gown, for a 1985 official royal visit to Italy. A coat and skirt in green, blue and black was cut in the boxy shape in favour at the time.

The tartan wool day suit was not well received by critics who didn’t find it flattering.


For her honeymoon photos with Charles taken in the lovely Scottish countryside, Diana turned to designer Bill Pashley for a casual, comfortable brown tweed woolen day-suit.

She had two versions made – and chose to wear the larger one on her honeymoon because the extra room allowed her to participate in outdoor activities more easily. Its tweed motif pays tribute to the countryside traditions.


Diana relied heavily on Walker at various times in her life, and she turned to Walker again in the years just before her death to help her refine a “working princess” style in line with her plan to devote more time to charitable activities.

She wore a red day suit by Walker to launch an AIDS charity appeal in 1996. Walker called the outfits she was working on at this phase a “royal uniform” for Diana, who was outspoken in her support of AIDS victims.Read more at:formal dresses | formal dresses adelaide

Why you should use Konjac Sponge for healthy skin

konjac sponge 

(Photo:white cocktail dresses)Did you know that acne is not caused by excessive oil and bacteria alone? If your skin is incapable of shedding all its dead cells, they can get lodged inside your pores. When the pores get plugged, the sebum, the oil that usually nourishes your skin and keeps it soft, cannot come to the surface. Opportunistic bacteria which are lying in wait for a moment like this, make a dash for the clogged pore to feast on this oil. Your body’s immune system then swings into action and starts a war with the bacteria, causing inflammation or a pimple.

So sometimes, using washing your face multiple times and slathering your skin with antibacterial creams are of little use if your dead cells are not being shed. Many dermatologists, therefore, recommend the use of a gentle exfoliating agent that will dislodge all the dead cells before they could fall into your pores. Chemical agents like glycolic peels and exfoliating scrubs can be quite harsh on your skin. Sometimes, they may end up doing more bad than good.

Acne has always been a big part of my teenage and adult life. I have very oily skin that is strangely also used to flaking, which I believe was causing the acne in the first place. I tried most exfoliating agents from scrubs to brushes with little success. One day, when I was browsing the internet, I came across konjac sponges. Curious to know more about the sponge, I did some research.

What is konjac sponge?

Konjac sponge is a revolutionary skin care product that has been making waves in the beauty industry for quite some time now. The best-kept beauty secret of the Japanese, the sponge is made from the root of Amorphophallus konjac or elephant yam found in Asian countries like Japan, China and Korea. Now, it is also available online on various e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart. That’s where I got mine from.

The konjac root powder is mixed with water to form a paste. Calcium hydroxide is added to the paste to thicken it. The mixture is then shaped and heated to remove the water. The solidified “sponge” is then sold as konjac sponge. It is stone hard when dry. But when soaked in water, it becomes springy, soft and spongy.

These sponges are available in a variety of colours, each having an infused substance specialised for a specific skin problem. The white sponge is the plain one, the yellow one has turmeric, the green one is aloe vera or green tea infused, and black one contains charcoal.

How to use konjac sponge?

The soft sponge can be used in the same way one uses the washcloth. The wet sponge, although impossibly soft and gentle, is very efficient at removing dead skin cells without hurting the skin in any way. It can be used either on its own or in combination with a cleanser.

First, you need to soak the konjac sponge in water for a few minutes. When it absorbs the water, it becomes springy and soft. Wet your face with water and gently rub the sponge on your face. Focus on your problem areas like the T-zone, jaw line and the cheeks for 2 minutes. Even if you rub it a little hard, your skin won’t feel a thing. It is that gentle. Wash it off with water, and you will notice that your skin is visibly softer and smoother than before. Use it once or twice a day.

How does konjac sponge help acne?

Konjac sponge is a great thing to have in your kit if you suffer from acne. Firstly, it sloughs off the dead cells on your face to prevent pore clogging. Secondly, it neutralises bacteria pimple-causing bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus1 and Propionibacterium acnes2. And thirdly, the alkalising effect of the sponge helps you balance the pH of your skin, ensuring that bacteria and other nasty pathogens don’t have a field day on your skin.

My experience using the konjac sponge

I haven’t been using the sponge for a very long time, but I saw a stark difference in my skin texture after only a few uses. My skin tone became more even, and I saw lesser breakouts, even on my problem areas. It requires very little maintenance and comes at a fraction of what electric facial cleansing devices cost. Since it is organic, it is biodegradable and won’t hurt the environment (in case you care, the exfoliating micro beads in your facial scrub are contaminating the sea3).

However, all good things come to an end, and konjac sponge is no different. Since it is organic, the shelf life of the konjac sponge is limited. You need to replace your sponge after every 2-3 months. But a decent quality sponge costs only Rs 290 on Amazon, a quarter of what you would spend on a facial every month. So you won’t feel the pinch.

This is the best exfoliating product I have ever tried, and trust me, I have tried a lot of those. It’s no surprise that konjac sponges are relatively unknown in the beauty world. When you have an economical, efficient and environment-friendly skin care product, who would visit the beauty clinics for expensive treatments.Read more at:formal dress online

Serena Williams on exercising while pregnant and why fashion is harder than tennis


(Photo:formal dresses online)Most expectant mothers have their minds firmly full with last-minute nursery preparations, hospital bag packing and birthing plans. Eight-months-pregnant Serena Williams has these concerns, of course, but her sights are also set on a bigger postpartum goal: her return to tennis. “I am looking forward to becoming a mother and coming back to the courts already,” she tells The Telegraph. “I’m always thinking about what’s next: the next victory, the next trophy.”

Elsewhere, the world number one women’s tennis player has said that she has her sights set on competing in the 2018 Australian Open next January – thought to be just three months after giving birth. It’s an audacious goal, but if anyone can achieve it, it’s 35-year-old Williams who, with 23 Grand Slam titles to her name, is the most decorated player of the Open Era. Should she manage to defend the title she won while in the early stages of pregnancy in January this year, she’ll equal Margaret Court’s overall record of 24.

It’s so tantalisingly within reach that Williams isn’t going to let something as trifling as becoming a mother for the first time stop her from giving it a good go. As such, she’s continuing her strict exercise and nutrition regime throughout her pregnancy.

“I intend to keep exercising for as long as possible while pregnant,” she says. “I want to baby to be healthy and for that you need a healthy life. Also, when I come back to tennis it’ll be better if I’ve kept as fit as possible all the way through the pregnancy rather than having to lose a lot of weight afterwards in order to get fit again. Eating healthily is a must, but being healthy is a lifestyle.”

And yet in true Serena style, she combines intense discipline with a healthy dose of fun. Earlier this month she held a 1950s-themed baby shower in West Palm Beach, Florida, where friends including Eva Longoria, Ciara and Kelly Rowland, alongside her sister Venus and fiance Alexis Ohanian, dressed up in vintage gear to celebrate the impending arrival of ‘Baby O’. And earlier this year she and fiancé Reddit founder Ohanian, whom she met in Rome in 2015, dressed up to the nines for the Met Gala in New York. It was her first red-carpet appearance since having accidentally revealed her unexpected pregnancy to the world via Snapchat in April.

Dressed in a bump-hugging, emerald-green Atelier Versace gown, Williams accessorised with dazzling emerald and diamond earrings by Hollywood jeweller XIV Karats, and an even more dazzling diamond piece on her left wrist: the Diamond Outrage high jewellery watch by Audemars Piguet, for whom she has been an ambassador since 2014. The watch, which Williams describes as “beyond anything I’ve ever seen”, is the third in Piguet’s series of high jewellery watches and features 65 carats of diamonds set into its vicious-looking spikes, one of which conceals a watch face.

An attention-grabbingly fierce piece of craftsmanship, it’s a far cry from the sporty styles that Williams describes as her “lucky charms” on court. “I have slightly fewer than 10 Audemars Piguet watches now,” she says. “I wear them all on different occasions. The only style I wouldn’t wear on court is the Diamond Outrage. It’s way too special…or too dangerous! But every time I do wear it I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.”

She must have been delighted, then, to be shot by fashion photographer Tom Munro while wearing the watch for Audemars Piguet’s latest campaign. “It was such a fun shoot,” she recalls. “Tom was able to capture my fun side, which is really me. When I’m on the court you only see my serious side, so it was very cool to be able to showcase the ‘off the court’ version of me.”

Williams’ interest in fashion extends beyond her flamboyant personal style and cover-girl shoots (she was also photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the cover of the August issue of Vanity Fair, where she appears naked and cradling her bump, Demi Moore-style) to her own label, sold via the Home Shopping Network, which she launched at New York Fashion Week in 2014. But the world of staging catwalk shows and wooing fashion critics is still somewhat uncertain territory for the usually indomitable sportswoman-turned-designer.

“Fashion is hard; harder than tennis,” she says. “In tennis I make my own destiny, but in fashion you have to rely on so many other people. You can’t give up, even more so than in sport. I am still fighting to make the right choices… one step at a time.”

The next steps for now though are finding the right nanny (she is reportedly looking for a French-speaking baby nurse) and settling into motherhood with Ohanian, who is based in San Francisco where his business is headquartered.

Maintaining a trans-coastal relationship amid sleepless nights with that not-so-distant Australian Open goal in mind is no mean feat. But Williams will, as ever, take it in her stride. “Determination is key, whether you’re on or off the court,” she says. “You have to feed it, work on it constantly. What drives me daily is my love for what I do – I wake up and I want to be the greatest athlete. That’s more than enough.”

“I’m lucky because I feel like I have achieved a lot already,” she continues. “In some ways it’s easier now I’ve won different titles because there is no pressure to achieve anything specific. I am playing for fun now. Obviously, I would like to win the ultimate record, but that’s a story to be continued…”.Read more at:cocktail dresses

Hugo Boss to Support Retrospective of Charles and Ray Eames


(Photo:one shoulder formal dresses)Starting Sept. 30, Hugo Boss will be supporting “An Eames Celebration” at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. The project involves four separate exhibits dedicated to the various stages of Charles and Ray Eames’ oeuvre — furniture, films, photographs, drawings, sculptures, paintings, textiles, models, stage props and graphic design. The company will also support ancillary events staged across the extensive Vitra campus. Those grounds include structures created by Nicholas Grimshaw, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando, Álvaro Siza, Herzog & de Meuron and SANAA.

The exhibition will also feature previously unpublished material as it is meant to provide the most all-encompassing view of the husband-and-wife team’s creativity. “Partnerships with cultural institutions such as the Vitra Design Museum spur creativity within our company — above all in our collections,” explains Ingo Wilts, chief brand officer at Hugo Boss.

As an offshoot of the collaboration, the group has taken inspiration from the designs of Charles and Ray Eames and — in conjunction with the Vitra Design Museum — to create limited-edition accessories for the Boss brand. Drawing from the couple’s “Kite Drawings” and fusing abstractions with the Boss design idiom, the end result is a tote bag, a portfolio bag, a clutch and a card case — all of which are unisex. The four-piece capsule collection will be available at select retail and online stores this fall.

Ray Eames herself earned a degree in fashion design from the Bennett School for Girls in Millbrook, N.Y. She continued to sketch and draw throughout her life, creating textiles and clothing for herself and her husband. She also created uniforms for staff at IBM’s Pavilion during the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

To mark the exhibition’s opening and the launch of the collection, Hugo Boss and the Vitra Design Museum will hosting a special event in Berlin during October. Excerpts from unseen video works by the Eames — taken from the exhibition in Weil am Rhein — will be shown to guests.Read more at:princess formal dresses

Get stylish in dungarees

For those who are not afraid to take some fashion risk, dungarees or overalls are back in vogue. Gone are the days when only kids wore dungarees — celebrities such as Anushka Sharma, Yami Gautam, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra, Celine Dion, Selena Gomez and Joanna Krupa were all spotted sporting them in recent times. Interestingly, the likes of Paris Jackson, Vanessa Hudgens and Sherlyn Chopra are even wearing dungarees with an unfastened strap! If you want to have fun and look good, dungarees permit you to do both. These functional outfits are high on style and make sure you look cool.

While there are several options such as loose-fit, relaxed, skinny-fit, shorts and skirt dungarees to choose from, stylists say that it is important to find the perfect fit to ace the look. “Denim dungarees have been doing the rounds lately on the international fashion scene and Bollywood divas are sporting them as well. Fluid cotton dungaree is the trend this season. Pair it with a crop top or even a casual tee. I love the sweet little detail around the waist that gives a little peek into what you are wearing underneath,” says celebrity designer Archana Kochhar.

Denim dungarees can be experimented with. “A trendy baseball cap, oversized sunglasses and sneakers gives you a look with a relaxed vibe. If you want to dress it up, opt for crop tops, a pair of swanky heels, chunky gold earrings and bracelets,” Archana advises.

The foolproof way to wear a dungaree is with a white t-shirt and sneakers. But you can also try nautical prints or greys for t-shirts. “Experiment with the length of your sleeves. Plain black dungarees have more scope for styling. You can pair it with ankle boots, flats, pumps, and even sandals. However, keep colours neutral for an aesthetic look” advises stylist Ayesha A.K.

According to designer Althea Krishna, ripped and tattered dungarees are a great fashion choice. “However, if your dungaree is simple, go for printed and sheer fabric on the inside,” she adds.

“Leave your hair open or in a messy top knot. A nude or a coral lip colour is sufficient when it comes to make-up” suggests Ayesha.Read more at:mermaid formal dresses | formal dress shops sydney


Heiress and singer Ananya Birla shows off an Anjolie Ela Menon drawing on her shirt. Birla was at an art gallery in Worli yesterday, along with cricketer Kapil Dev, as part of a charity art auction

A material world

WHILE defying trends is his brand of fashion, Kolkata designer Kallol Datta has decided to venture into the art scape, too. Datta opens his first solo show today at one of the country’s leading contemporary art galleries, Experimenter, run by Priyanka and Prateek Raja. Titled Random Access, the exhibition examines the conceptual, material and spatial aspects of Datta’s design practice. For his show, the London’s Central St Martins’ graduate has gone even more experimental — he has used garbage bags as fabric, and has treated reclaimed silk and cotton. Those who have seen the work tell us that the pieces are as exquisite as his clothes. “Both Prateek and I have followed his work and his collection for years now. And this show is not about presenting him as a designer. His work is conceptually strong, and for us the show is very sculptural,” says Priyanka.

What’s brewing?

SANJAY Dutt’s party on Tuesday night was quite a revelation for us, if we may say so. An unusual guest was also present among the usual revellers like Bunty Walia and his wife. This was Abhishek Bachchan. The Bachchan family and Sanjay have been friends for decades, and there have also been rumours of Abhishek and Sanju tying up to produce a film. When Dutt came down to walk Abhishek out, both of them were in high spirits and shared a long hug. In Bollywood parlance, that’s often called sealing the deal.

For love or money

WE don’t want to be in Alia Bhatt’s shoes right now. Having it all does have its flipside. We hear Bhatt is in a bit of a quandary regarding her father’s production company’s newest film, ‘Aashiqui 3’. Alia greenlighted it, and so has her rumoured beau, Sidharth Malhotra. But it seems that Alia isn’t too keen on the film, especially since her next releases are ‘Gully Boys’ with Ranveer Singh, ‘Dragon’ with Ranbir Kapoor and her solo lead film, ‘Raazi’, directed by Meghana Gulzar. Perhaps, she is doing her ‘Aashiqui 3’ for sentimental reasons, or maybe she’s hoping to recreate the chemistry of their last hit ‘Kapoor & Sons’. Either way, she has all of 2018 to decide.

Second helping

THE city’s cognoscenti and gastronomes collectively mourned the closing of the legendary Samovar café at the Jehangir Art Gallery in 2015. Run by the late restaurateur Usha Khanna, a city institution in her own right, the café was as famous for its illustrious patrons such as Jaya Bachchan, Pritish Nandy, Dolly Thakore, Shyam Benegal, MF Husain and Kekoo Gandhy, as it was for its kheema paratha. Khanna and the Jehangir Art Gallery committee were locked in a legal tussle for years, and eventually the restaurant had to give up the space. Seems Khanna’s daughter Deveika Bhojwani has let bygones be bygones, and is looking to start the eatery once again. She is currently looking for a space for the restaurant’s second innings. “Nothing is finalised as yet. I hope something works out soon,” she told us, crossing her fingers.


THIS much-in-love actress and her long-time beau are now history. It seems their romance fell by the wayside, as she was hoping to marry him this year, but he has developed cold feet. So intense is their sparring, that the two coldshouldered each other at a recent party. In fact, the actress was even snubbed by her former beau’s family members, some of who she was rather chummy with only a couple of months ago. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, we guess.Read more at:formal dresses perth | formal dresses canberra

Muslim hijabs get fashion world’s eye

Could the hijab be fashion’s new trending accessory?

For fall 2017, teen retailer American Eagle debuted a denim hijab as part of its collection of refreshed denim fits, washes and fabrications. In the ad campaign, it’s worn by a smiling Halima Aden, a Somali-American model who signed with IMG Models earlier this year. (In keeping with the company’s recent fashion-for-all mentality, other photos and videos feature athletes, musicians and models — “handpicked for their ability to break stereotypes” — of varying body types and skin tones.)

For the campaign, the hijab — a symbol of modesty and religious devotion worn by Muslim women — is styled to look fresh and fun, paired with a denim button-down shirt, olive jacket and navy floral frock layered over pants. It was priced at $19.95 and sold out in less than two weeks.

This release comes on the heels of Nike’s announcement earlier this year that it plans to make available next spring a “Pro Hijab,” done in black with signature Nike “swoosh” logo. It has been designed in collaboration with Muslim athletes and will be made from a dark, breathable polyester fabric.

Responses so far have been mixed.

“Supporting the Muslim Hijab is supporting the enslavement of women … ” one tweet said in protest. “Will Nike provide male guardians so that hijabis can go out for a job?” echoed another. On the other hand, some see these expanded options as messages of inclusion.

“Thank you American Eagle for encouraging young America to follow their passions, express their individuality and pursue their unique paths,” Aden posted on her Instagram account, along with a video from the fall denim campaign. The move also suggests some growth for American Eagle, which in 2008 denied a 17-year-old a job because she wore a black head scarf to the interview. The company claimed it violated its “look policy.”

American Eagle and Nike have shown their respective hijabs on actual Muslim women. Last year, Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana was criticized for featuring its premier collection of hijabs on light-skinned models.Read more at:princess formal dresses | mermaid formal dresses

World kimono project aimed to revitalize crafts has three years to go

World kimono project aimed to revitalize crafts has three years to go 

(Photo:one shoulder formal dresses)A project to create kimono representing 196 countries is in progress, taking the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as an opportunity to spread the wonders of Japan’s master craftsmanship across the country and overseas.

With the output of traditional crafts dwindling to a fifth of the level 30 years ago, artisans in Japan are approaching the revival of traditional crafts in a new way.

In May, a kimono made for Micronesia was showcased for the first time at a fashion show held in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward. To represent the nation in the middle western Pacific Ocean, the garment’s fabric sported a rainbow stretching across a blue sky, and vibrantly colored birds and hibiscuses. A mesmerized audience snapped pictures with their smartphones.

The Micronesia kimono is part of the Imagine Oneworld Kimono Project, which was founded in 2014. The past two years, the project has showcased earlier creations at fashion shows in Tokyo, and now it has completed 55 kimono representing 55 countries. For those that remain to be made, Yoshimasa Takakura, the head of the project, has been collecting donations via a crowdfunding site and other sources, and he aims to have all of them ready by 2020.

Carefully chosen motifs symbolizing the culture, nature and climate of each country are woven into the design of each kimono. Germany’s, for example, features musical notes and piano keys — a reference to the country’s history of famous musicians. The shapes of gears were also incorporated in the pattern, highlighting the industrial achievements of the country. In contrast, India’s robe sees an array of elephants, peacocks and lotuses, and the Taj Mahal.

Takakura, 49, who has participated in international events such as the Expo Milano 2015, says the idea of making kimono to represent individual countries came to him while at a fashion show in Paris in 2013, when he received a positive response to a kimono that fused Japanese 18th-century painter Ito Jakuchu’s images of flowers with art-nouveau designs. It was then, he says, that he sensed “the ability of Japanese culture to respect others.”

According to the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Craft Industries, the production of traditional crafts, including kimono, shrank to ¥100 billion in 2014 from a peak of ¥540 billion in 1983. The number of workers in the industry also decreased from 290,000 in 1983 to 70,000 in 2014.

On top of changes in consumers’ lifestyle, the industry faces a lack of young apprentices.

“I’ve always wanted to restore the pride and confidence of craftspeople,” says Takakura, who is a third-generation operator of a kimono shop in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Takakura prepared to launch the Imagine Oneworld Kimono Project as soon as he heard that Tokyo won the Olympic Games bid, hoping to contribute to the games through kimonos.

“My dream is to see the people leading delegations wearing (the kimonos) during the parade of nations at the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Games,” he says.

With just three years to go, dyeing craftsmen, textile manufacturers weaving professionals and more have come together from all around Japan to make the garments. Embassies, schools and the public also all taking part, allowing the project to play a role in international exchange and education.

“With many people getting involved to communicate (the project) overseas,” Takakura says, “Japanese people may also rediscover the charm of the kimono.”Read more

The Wonder Woman effect

Gal Gadot, DC Comics and the whole Justice League gang are not the only big winners from “Wonder Woman,” the film franchise that has already taken in more than $780 million globally; it just seems to keep on giving (and is already gearing up for a sequel).

The latest beneficiaries of the movie’s halo effect: Whitaker Malem, the London leather designers behind the superheroine’s metallic leather armour as well as the armour for her fellow Amazons. They are this season’s breakout British brand.

“Wonder Woman is our calling card at the moment,” said Keir Malem, 52, sitting with his partner, Paddy Whitaker, also 52, in the loftlike ground floor of their two-story home and atelier in Dalston, East London.

Dotted around the walls are mementos from their travels mixed in with seminal artworks from the 20th-century Italian maestro Lucio Fontana and a 1970s 3D spotted torso by the British pop artist Allen Jones. The two men, who uncannily look and dress alike, had just returned from a five-month stint making more leather armour on location in Australia for Wonder Woman’s sister movie, “Aquaman,” scheduled for release in December 2018.

Just upstairs from where they were sitting was the atelier where the Wonder Woman armour, commissioned by Lindy Hemming, the film’s costume designer, was born.

The two work at side-by-side desks, and pictures adorn the main wall, including a close-up of the Wonder Woman costume made before it was metallicized. Torsos fitted with leather corsets litter the room, while hidden at the back is a vintage 1950s Singer sewing machine, bought at North London’s Chapel Market for 60 pounds in 1988. On it, Malem said, “everything is done, even though it wasn’t made for sewing leather.”

Called “beyond cool” by New York magazine, Wonder Woman’s armour has become a breakout star in its own right.

“We were allowed to go close to the body and do sexy armour, which is unusual, as a lot of armour is massive,” Malem said.

Rihanna’s stylist, Mel Ottenberg, asked to borrow a moss-green shearling corset for the kickoff of the star’s jewelry collaboration with Chopard at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

The veteran costume designer Sandy Powell, known for films like “Shakespeare in Love” and the coming “Mary Poppins Returns,” asked Whitaker Malem to design armour for her latest film, “The Favourite.”

And the arty French Double magazine featured Joan Severance, the model and actress, wearing one of their moulded black bustier collaborations with Allen Jones in its current spring/summer issue.

“We’d never been in that magazine before,” Malem said. Now “we’re exposed to a whole new audience.”

Even Donatella Versace riffed on the Wonder Woman look in her recent couture collection, with a corseted catsuit glittering with nearly 8,000 sequins and a gold leather minidress.

Though best known today for their film work, which has included Luke Evans’ red leather jacket in this year’s “Beauty and the Beast,” as well as the 2008 “Dark Knight” bat suit, Whitaker Malem began life as a fashion house in 1988, focusing on leather. The designers had met by chance at a house party in London two years earlier; Whitaker was studying fashion design at Central Saint Martins and Malem was acting at the Tricycle Theater in Kilburn, northwest London, after dropping out of a hairdressing course at the London College of Fashion.

After two runway collections and after dressing names such as Paula Abdul and Cher in leather, however, the two were still struggling to make ends meet, and moved into collaborating with other fashion designers. They made a gold leather dress for Alexander McQueen’s spring/summer 1997 Givenchy collection, and a leather eagle bustier for Tommy Hilfiger’s spring/summer 2000 Red Label.

“Our biggest fashion mistake was that Isabella Blow asked our PR to be given one of our dresses and we wouldn’t let her have it,” said Whitaker, referring to the late famed British stylist and pointing to a photograph of the gold chain mail dress with a gold moulded ivy leaf leather bustier in one of their scrapbooks. “Maybe, had we given it to her, things might have been different.”

Still, it was a learning experience that helped them embrace their new-found Wonder Woman fame.

Malem and Whitaker are now focusing on personal fine art work, funded by their movie fees, which largely involves male and female bodies fashioned in leather and spliced together to create a wall sculpture.

“We hope that the people who think this Wonder Woman stuff is cool are going to want to have it on their walls when we sell it,” said Whitaker, pointing out the superhero overtones of an idealized hermaphroditic body.Read more at:cheap formal dresses online | marieaustralia