As part of Dazed & Confused's focus on Japanese fashion this month, we talk to jewellery designer Yoshiko Kajitani about what inspires her avant-garde creations
Yoshiko Kajitani describes the wearers of her intricate, ornate accessories, created under the label Yoshiko Creation Paris, as “beautiful females who have a brave spirit”. Not surprisingly then, her work has found a high profile home in the outfits of Lady Gaga, with Yoshiko's creations often adorning the pop icon. Also a favourite of Japanese artists and performers including actress and singer Mika Nakajijma and Ryo, Kajitani has collaborated with Yohji Yamamoto's Y label, Swarovski and Converse. Yoshiko Creation is stocked in Paris' Colette and was recently featured in the highly anticipated Thierry Mugler debut collection film, which was made under the creative direction of Nicola Formichetti. With a dedicated Paris showroom due to open in March, Yoshiko's 'pop couture' jewellery looks set to be as firmly established in Europe, as it is in Japan.
Dazed Digital: What was the inspiration behind Yoshiko Creation? What made you want to start designing jewelery?
Yoshiko Kajitani: In the beginning, my basic concept was Avant-garde. I was interested in the fusion of craftman's skills and classical fashion pieces. The combination of Prêt-à-porter and Haute couture. Also, I guess I thought that accessories had more creative possibilities than clothes.
DD: You are now based in Paris. What is it about the city that you like, as opposed to Japan?
Yoshiko Kajitani: In Paris, people judge things by their own intuition, as opposed to what they are told. It is really wonderful that fashion has taken root in this country as culture.
DD: Where do you get your inspiration for the collections?
Yoshiko Kajitani: From the universe. Everything around me, all life, emotions as a common language, the earth, the sound of the wind.
DD: What was the inspiration behind the SS11 collection?
Yoshiko Kajitani: This collection consists of human body parts and its background concept is Renaissance, which to me contains the idea of rebirth.
DD: Your jewelery is very ornate. Generally what type of person wears your pieces?
Yoshiko Kajitani: I feel that many customers are beautiful females who have a brave spirit and can hold onto, maintain and freely give, their opinions. Strong, outspoken women.
DD: Which other designers or artists do you find influential?
Yoshiko Kajitani: A lot, but especially, Serge Lutens. I really feel his challenge and spirit of defiance against the modern. I really respect creators who produce purely aesthetically beautiful things.
DD: You have collaborated with a variety of designers, including Yohji Yamamoto. What is the process behind a collaborative project for you?
Yoshiko Kajitani: First, I try to assimilate into the partner I am working with and look for our common language. To create a beautiful object for each other is similar to being in love. Next, I look for the image I am going to use, I start from a blurred outline and work that into the detailed design. For a designer, the designs are their equivalemnt of words, it is a tacit understanding for us. It is always exciting to create together under the tacit understanding.
DD: Is there a particular type of person that wears your pieces?
Yoshiko Kajitani: There is no one type of person, it is more about a certain personality. It has ranged from Lady Gaga to Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Countess of Polignac, the royal family of Morocco and various pop musicians in Asia.
DD: How do you find being a Japanese designer who has spent time in Europe? Do you find one place influences your work more than the other?
Yoshiko Kajitani: I am really lucky to have the opportunity to take inspiration from the worlds-apart designs of both Japan and Europe. Sometimes design is mathematical and we need to decode what previous designers and artists have created. I am always influenced by native things related to the places I visit.