By Crash

At the crossroads of East and West, we deliver a Shiseido beauty series focused on cultural blending with looks in explosive colors bearing traces of punk and Japanese cinema. Shiseido has always had a knack for creating striking images that withstand the test of time. Think back to the Serge Lutens years, when the legendary perfumer imbued the brand’s campaigns with a futuristic, minimalist aesthetic, all in geometric forms and saturated colors. This visual identity tinged with Soviet constructivism and Surrealism elevated Shiseido to the rank of cosmetics icon in the 1980s. But Shiseido is also Yamaguchi Sayoko, the face of the brand through the 1970s, muse to the world’s greatest designers and one of the first Japanese models to walk the runways of Fashion Week. With her almond eyes and ebony hair sculpted into a perfect square framing her face, she hypnotized the fashion world and modernized the image of the Japanese woman. Her seemingly endless smokey eye contour continues to inspire the house, which has made it one of its signature styles. Since its origins in the late nineteenth century, Shiseido has consistently sought to beautify and illuminate women’s faces, without masking their irregularities or distinctive features. In their hands, make-up becomes a formidable expressive tool, unmasking true beauty and revealing another facet of the wearer’s personality. Make-up is a boundless art which evolves in parallel with fashion, as beauty ideals transform and society advances. As society continues to question the concept of femininity, make-up becomes a way to take a stand and serve as an arm in the struggle. It’s also an important social marker that reflects a sense of belonging to a particular community, whether musical, artistic or political. For this photo series, Shiseido has taken up the notion of japonisme, referring to the influence that Japanese art exerted on Western writers and artists in the second half of the nineteenth century.

The series revisits everything that makes the Pacific archipelago so magical and poetic, from karesansui to kabuki theatre. The human face becomes a veritable playground for Miki Ishida, hair and makeup artist at Shiseido since 2001, who revels in brushing a stroke of white against ebony skin, then tinting a blue eye with red, extending the blush all the way up to the eyebrows. Elsewhere, an eye comes to life with a tiger pattern composed of swimming pool blue, ochre and vermilion accented with a bold stroke of kohl. Young Japanese women are known for experimenting with their looks and always defying expectations, never afraid to don eye-popping color combinations or mismatched prints. This is the spirit that make-up artist Ishida aimed red to recreate by applying make-up to the model’s temples while leaving the eyelids bare – a dazzling contrast that lends a warlike air to the face. The effect is paired with towering hairstyles that offer a blend of different eras and sub-cultures: an incredible fluorescent green Iroquois headdress evokes punk culture, which is still very much alive in Japan, while a manga influence seeps from a short wig whose contours seem as though drawn in black felt pen. These stunning creations are the work of Hirofumi Kera, a hairdresser renowned both in his home country and at Paris Fashion Week, where he has worked with some of the biggest names in the business. Known for pushing the limits of creativity, here he presents a unique vision of japonisme, lying midway between tradition and futuristic interpretation. The show’s crowning glory, an imposing headdress made of braided white hair topped with a golden sculpture, was created twenty years ago by the legendary Wada Emi, costume designer for numerous Japanese hit films. Explore this ornate and extravagant world as captured by the lens of Mote Sinabel Aoki.

Cotton organdy shirt with ruffles – Yohji Yamamoto
Gold tone brass and Swarovski crystals crescent moon necklace – Noboru Shionoya

Silk flower printed dress – Yohji Yamamoto
gold tone brass and Swarovski crystals single earring – Noboru Shionoya

Old cloth repair cotton dress – Hana Yagi
gold-plated brass headdress – Noboru Shionoya
Silver ornamental hairpin, horse pieces, gold chains, black chains, silver cross and wing charms – Stylist’s own

Heavyweight wool twill jacket with grosgrain – Anna Choi
Swarovski hair clip gold-silver, brass and Swarovski, Swarovski hair clip gold-l.green / brass and Swarovski, heart solitaire earring with crystal silver-green / silver 925 and Swarovski – Ambush
Silk shirt – Stylist’s own

Silk shawl collar bib, cotton ribbon collar, silk mickey mouse words ribbon tie, chandelier necklace type1 / silver 925, chandelier necklace type2 / silver 925, double albert key chain / silver925 – Takahiromiyashitathesoloist
Nylon bodysuit – stylist’s own


Photographer: Mote Sinabel Aoki
Stylist: Demi Demu
Hair: Hirofumi Kera (Shiseido)
Make up: Miki Ishida (Shiseido)
Models: Liene Podina & Eliana Ortiz

Text: Alice Butterlin

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