Thursday, October 27, 2011

Michiko Kitamura's Method of Costume

Michiko Kitamura is a well known costume designer in her Native Japan, but receives little notoriety on a more global scale. American's may be more likely to know her for her costumes, as seen on the cover, for the movie Sukiyaki Western Django. This book is small, but packs a powerful punch of work.

What really draws me to Kitamura's work is her exquisite use of patterns. A lot of her work is focused around pattern layers, and the draping quality of the fabric. In an interview with Kitamura, she expresses her opinion that Japanese culture takes itself too seriously. She likes to take it rumple it, mix it with other cultures, and turn it on it's head. 

 What also fascinates me is her attention to character. She is very good at accentuating the individual qualities of each character while simultaneously homogenizing them as a group, it's really amazing.

Even without any textiles, Kitamura makes the white feel as though it is a pattern. The above image also showcases her consideration to shape and form. I love this image below, the attention paid to the scraped away nail polish 

Pros: The book has a nice intimate size that reflects the work well, the paper is a nice thick quality, and it's all about Kitamura, what isn't to love? The layout is lovely, perfectly displaying all of the work, and a lot of attention has been paid color.  
Cons: The only disappointment is that it is only 150 pages, and the last 50 are filled with an interview with Kitamura in, you guessed it, Japanese. This means there is only 100 pages of beautifully photographed work, that leaves you yearning for more.

How to Buy: This is a tricky one. You can go through, you will have to type in the Japanese title  衣裳術 or her name 北村 道子 . While the book itself is around $30, the import is very expensive. Another way is to go through the Japanese Bookstore chain in America called Kinokuniya. If you are lucky, they will have one on the shelves, and will ship it to you for a nominal $8. Even if you aren't, they will order it for you from Japan, and the shipping is much cheaper because they buy so much stock from the land of the rising sun.  

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