Focus: UKIYO - Q&A WITH THE DESIGNERS

Taking cues from the utilitarianism of Japanese workwear and the sculptural articulations of Isamu Noguchi, UKIYO “The Floating World” is an ode to the timeless appeal of organic forms. 

Split into two acts, UKIYO Part I introduces you to “the floating world”; detached from the bothers of life, an ode to the realms of organic beauty. Part II revisits the idea of the utilitarianism of Japanese workwear and the notion of transition - from masculine to feminine, internal to external, physical to immaterial.  Part II sees the re-imagination of pieces in new colour-ways and textiles, such as as our Ruri Wrap Knit, Ghita Dress and Jerry Pants. This collection also introduces a new series of functional suiting and two-piece dressing for the modern woman, with our Workwear Jacket and Annya Blazer.

We sit down with Co-founder and Creative Director, Lara Fells, and Head Designer, Erika Toscano, to discuss the collection, their inspirations behind the pieces and what they are wearing this season.


What images/experiences/influences did you draw upon in creating UKIYO?
 
Erika: It’s a very Japanese inspired collection, especially the workwear pieces. We were also very inspired by the Japanese creator Isamu Noguchi. We started with the inspirations, ideas, shapes and colour palette - once we had established the direction we went to China to the fabric and trim markets to pick the materials - this has been the nicest experience when developing a collection. It is like to going on a treasure hunt to seek the most beautiful fabrics that we could find - and voilà, a beautiful collection!
 

Lara: Our main reference for this collection was a picture of Isamu Noguchi's Akari lanterns on display at his museum alongside Japanese workwear.  We were inspired by the textures of the fabrics used and the military colour palette. The collection is both utilitarian and sculptural, drawing inspiration from the circular shapes in the lanterns. We really wanted to explore the symbolic relationship between function and shape.

  
How do you think this collection has evolved from your last? 
 
Erika: I think the most important evolution is the synergy between Lara and I, at work and in life. This always makes the collections better. We have been very particular with fabrics and we are consistently trying to find the best and most sustainable materials possible.
 
Lara: This is my favourite collection to date, the palette is more refined and the tactility of the fabrications is really beautiful. 

 
What are your personal favourite pieces from this collection and why?

Erika: The Kazashi Pants are my favourite piece  - I live in mine! The fit is so perfect and I love the different elements to this style, such as the waits and the big cuffs. I also love the Sumi Trench - I'm obsessed with trench coats and it’s just so special to be able to wear your own design! I love the big collar with the stitch detailing and the fabric is so beautiful. The Ranger Shorts are my favourite shape for shorts -favourite colour is Off White!
 
 
Lara: My favourite pieces are the Sumi trench layered over the Raw silk suiting. I also really love the Kazashi pants and the Hemp & Organic cotton tee's. The Gulliver Slides remain my favourite pair of shoes and I use the Kanta leather clutch everyday.