The creative disciplines of hat making, jewelry and fashion are fused in the avant garde creations of Japanese designer Maiko Takeda. We showcase the latest collection from the 2013 graduate of the Royal College of Art.
It is difficult to categorise the avant garde creations of designer Maiko Takeda. Originally trained in jewelry design at London’s Central Saint Martin’s, the Tokyo-born talent then went on to complete an MA in millinery at the Royal College of Art. And while her internships also spanned jewelry (Erickson Beaumon) and hats (Stephen Jones, Philip Treacy), there was further education in fashion (at Issey Miyake). Naturally, her work has become a fusion of the three disciplines.
“Ethereal adornment” is how Takeda herself prefers to describe her signature headwear. Having graduated only in May 2013, she presented her second collection during London Fashion Week in September. Titled ‘Atmospheric Reentry’, the spectacular headpieces were created with hundreds spiky feather like units constructed from clear acrylic discs, colour-gradient tinted film and silver jump rings. Covering the face and extending into a significant volumes, the headwear cannot be described as hats nor fashion. Takeda says the collection was designed, “to transcend the traditional expectations of headwear.”
Having already found a muse in the musician Bjork (the fashion pioneer cum pop star wore a piece from the Atmospheric Reentry during her tour this summer), Takeda credits music as an important inspiration in her work. Specifically, her latest collection was influenced by Robert Wilson’s 1976 production of Philip Glass’ opera “Einstein on the Beach”. Adding music into Takeda’s diverse range of references only makes her unique fusion of fashion of millinery, jewelry and fashion yet more compelling.
What is your definition of luxury?
Quality without compromise.
If luxury were an object, what would it be?
Something that you truly want to appreciate.
If luxury were a person, who would it be?
Someone with full of energy and inspirations.
If luxury were a place, where would it be?
Somewhere you feel elegant.
If luxury were a moment, when would it be?
A moment you share with your loved ones.
You trained as a jeweller as well as a milliner – to what extent is your current work a fusion of both jewelry and millinery?
Atmospheric Reentry is a collection of headwear. However I integrated elements of precious metals and jewellery techniques in details of each piece. Also for my future projects I would love to seek further possibilities in combining my expertise in jewellery design and millinery.
You have described your interest as that of adornments to the body – how does this differ from fashion?
I would like my work to be seen in a context of wearable products, but I think "adornments of the body" implies a purer and more conceptual approach to the subject.
‘What would it feel like to wear a cloud?’ was the question that inspired your latest collection. How did you answer that question?
I started playing with a lot of different kinds of materials- fibres, plastics, paper and so on. I had no idea where I would end up but gradually the idea became solidified and I came up with the technique to achieve such an effect I was looking for. So it was a continuous development of material combinations and techniques.
Despite the extreme proportions of your headwear, the pieces remain light being made of feather-like strands of acrylic. What are the priorities for you when creating headwear?
In this collection I wanted to create a spacey and otherworldly mood through the pieces. Also the flexibility of the pieces was important- I didn't want it to look like a solid heavy object put on the body but something otherworldly and light.
Robert Wilson’s 1976 production of Philip Glass’ opera “Einstein on the Beach” is also referenced as inspiration behind the unusual aesthetic. How do you translate music into headwear? What is your relationship with music? What’s on your ipod at the moment?
The opera was a multi-sensory experience and it was much more about the sound itself that inspired me. The lights, space, movements of the performers- it was so incredible. Afterwards I made my own moodboard from the impressions of the opera and this was a guide to make design decisions during the process. Other than that I always enjoy listening to music- at the moment I am listening to album "Orbservatory in the star house" by the Orb and Lee Scratch Perry.
Bjork has already worn some of your headpieces but there is sophistication to your designs that make them much more than costume. Who would you ideally like to see wear your work? Do you have any muses?
My muses for this collection were Bjork and Tilda Swinton. So it was such an amazing experience to be able to collaborate with Bjork over the summer. I would love to have an opportunity to work with Tilda Swinton in the future too!