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Tadashi Shoji Left Tadashi Shoji opted for a presentation at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week spring–summer 2011.

Tadashi Shoji’s artistic landscape

Tadashi Shoji chose a more intimate way to present his spring–summer 2011 collection at New York Fashion Week, as Lola Saab discovers
contributions by Morgan Davison and Stanley Moss
New York Fashion Week images photographed by Andrew H. Walker/Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week/Getty Images



TO DEFINE the Tadashi Shoji name brand, we can simply say that it is a ‘work of art.’ He was born in Sandai, Japan and moved to Tokyo to study fine art. Eventually he moved from Tokyo to Los Angeles, California, where he attended college. There, his artistic point-of-view became more specific and he grew interested in fashion design. He received his fashion degree and eventually his name went down in history in the fashion world as a popular brand among women looking to buy beautifully structured pieces at affordable prices. In 1982, the Tadashi Shoji collection was finally considered to be ‘the next big thing’ in the fashion industry.
   During the spring–summer 2011 New York Fashion Week shows, we were invited to take a dive into Shoji’s world and speak to him in a one-on-one interview to gain his personal perspective in his own, creative universe of artistic beauty he has come to form from an early age and making it a world for others to enter. He expressed a wide interest in beauty and elegance. His fashion show was revealed as a presentation to viewers.
   While impatiently waiting to enter the Box at Lincoln Center, the main showroom for some designers, we wondered what creative idea Shoji could have built. Once making one’s way through the open doors, we were not surprised to see the artistic visions the designer outlined, not only in the clothing but as well as in the atmosphere.
   The main theme for the new season’s collection was based on ‘elegance and romance’ in the fifteenth century. Twenty-one models stood wearing gowns under a fort-like creation formed with many wood pieces intertwined, thus reflecting a historical image. The room was dark, reflecting an atmosphere of mystery and speculation. The gowns were absolutely exquisite and tasteful. There were long gowns and knee-high dresses, each one showed a stunning and striking image for the observers to take in as they made their way around the room. There was a feeling of tranquillity as Shoji focused on the uncomplicated elegance of the female body in soft tones of beige and grey. Inspired by line and shadow, the collection’s emphasis on asymmetric necklines and hems create long romantic gowns, which move around the body.
   We can imagine the traditional kimono reinvented for the modern woman, seen in the tomoeri necklines, the long kimono sleeves and the obi exchanged for a bow of ribbon.
   Many pieces were carefully detailed and formed to highlight a delicate feature. The materials were mainly of silk and chiffon, such textures generated a sense of perfection and simplicity as they hugged around a woman’s body.
   Asking Shoji why he decided to present his show as a presentation he answered, ‘A presentation is more intimate than a show would be. In a show the models walk down the runway and we aren’t able to see and take time to observe … in a presentation there is more intimacy.’
   Shoji explained to us his adventure into the fashion world: ‘I did not know that I would become a designer.’ His aim was to come to America and eventually he became involved in the fashion world. As he described to us how women should feel like when they dress, he told us, ‘Women should feel confident.’ Watching the models stand and show off the designer’s artistic pieces, we can see that confidence that Shoji spoke of. In terms of the young generation and those who look up to Shoji, he said, ‘For the young generation, they should go for what they believe in.’
   Spring 2011 is, as the season goes, a time of change. Tadashi Shoji is a designer who represents our future: in the words of Lucire travel editor Stanley Moss, he is someone who transcends global limits. Upon leaving the room, we anxiously wait to see what other ideas such an artistic designer will come up with in the future. •


Left Tadashi Shoji, pictured with Lucire travel editor Stanley Moss, photographed at Shoji’s trunk show on October 21 at Bloomingdale’s Fashion Island in Newport Beach, California. Shoji says business has rebounded, with excellent demand for the 2010 collection. A new Tadashi Shoji boutique will open in Shanghai in 2011. Below More from Tadashi Shoji’s New York Fashion Week presentation.




Lola Saab is Paris editor of Lucire.
Stanley Moss is travel editor of
Morgan Davison is an editorial assistant at


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