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Mark Fast selects Chiaki Moronaga

The celebrated knitwear extraordinaire introduces the empyreal 22-year-old designer from Fukuoka

Knitwear extraordinaire Mark Fast: “When I first saw Chiaki Moronaga I was swept away. This girl has got passion! In a world of Twitter and fast-paced media, she gives herself the time to think about life and react to her surroundings. She is like a high priestess!”

Young designer Chiaki Moronaga may claim to reside in Fukuoka, the most populous city on Kyushu, Japan’s thirdlargest island, but she also appears to be the sole occupant of an empyreal kingdom entirely of her own imagining. Although influenced by the likes of John Galliano and Jean Paul Gaultier, Moronaga admits that a present she received from her mother at the age of five played the most important role in her blossoming infatuation with design. “When I was small, so small that I could barely touch the showcase, I was mesmerised by a Chanel barrette that shined as if it had a rainbow locked inside of it. My mother bought it for me. I still have it – it is my treasure. It changed my life. It opened my mind to the wonderful world of fashion.”

Considering her penchant for puzzling yet poignant poetry, the 22-year-old designer’s intricately embellished garments are fittingly ethereal; they are floaty in a dystopian baroque way that would befit Marie Antoinette if she were in Pan’s Labyrinth on shrooms. It’s not hard to imagine that one of Moronaga’s creations will one day have the same mesmerising effect on another youth as that rainbow-coloured Chanel barrette had on her. “I love dreaming... I love to create a different life,” the recent graduate of Tokyo fashion school Coconogacco says. “When I was small, (my mother and I) had a difficult relationship. I always dreamed of escaping from those difficult times. In my dreams, I discovered my creativity. So I guess my work is a reflection of a mother-daughter relationship.” Before being dragged away by the Freudian fairies once more, she concludes: “My clothes are the result of myself seeking my mother inside of me. For me, the power of motherness is the power to contradict, to take in both sides of the world in one body: both love and hate, life and death, joy and sadness. I turn my cloth insideout as I turn my feelings inside-out. But as I keep on doing this, I am coming to a point where the difference between inside and out disappears. This is where I meet my mother, living inside of me...”

Photography Daisuke Hamada

This was taken from the December issue of Dazed & Confused. Click HERE for the exclusive shoot and interview with Chiaki Moronaga.