Mar 21, 2013
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Hiroko Koshino features flowers, fur at Japan Fashion Week

Mar 21, 2013

TOKYO - 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.

Hiroko Koshino Autumn-Winter 2013/2014

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 at home.

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 West."

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.

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