I would like to confess.
To confess that yours truly has no idea what Lepidoptera means prior to Keiko Nishiyama’s SS16 show.
To confess that yours truly usually steers clear from most things patterned.
But when Keiko unlocked yet another of her cabinet of curiosities at Sketch’s 18th century inspired Glade Room, I am drawn right into its secret.
How would Keiko’s butterflies dance amidst these walls of painted foliage? Admittedly, butterflies have been one of the most explored Leif motifs in fashion. That evening the designers’ kaleidoscope of fluttering wings morphs themselves into abstracts paintings. Paintings that from afar offer a feast of colour in the blue, lilac, lemon and orangey red. It then slowly draws the eyes in before you realize with delight the thousands of delicate wings resting upon the white fabrics. Others break into smaller parties, and waltz into a myriad of formation; round, square and even diamonds. Since her earlier graduation collection at London Collage of Fashion, photomontage has been this Japanese- born designer’s signature. There is a delicate poetic quality to these montages which sets her apart from her London contemporaries. Perhaps her art is nuanced by her Japanese influence, resulting in an amalgam of colours found in European paintings and the lightness valued in many traditional Japanese art form. With this collection, she has further pushed the boundaries of her art. By distilling the highly recognizable butterfly form into an abstract and back again into new forms.
The collection offers feminine silhouettes that are intrinsically wearable. Garments ranged from loosely tailored shirt-dresses to matching tops and smarter trousers or skirts combo. While essentially anchored in classic pattern, the designer updates them with experimental cuts seeking to create equilibrium between prints and solid colour blocks of the same palate. The stellar piece for me is a well-formed trench coat done in eyelet fabric featuring thousands beating butterfly wings; a very fitting trans- seasonal piece come next spring if there is ever one.
And if akin to me, you were nonchalant about patterns.
Perhaps it’s because you haven’t met Keiko.
And fell into her romantic megacosm.
Photos by Emmilyn and edited by yours truly.