Tadashi Shoji SS 2020NEW YORK, Sep 5, 2019/ — Titled “Once Upon a Time … in Japan,” the Tadashi Shoji Spring/ Summer 2020 collection took elements from the fantasy world of Japanese fairy tales then transformed them to something relatable thus making them grounded into the real world.

The result – quiet luxury pieces that spoke of the cultural richness of Japan. Take the opening look for instance. Done in black and red, the blatant sexiness usually evoked by those colors turned sensual, thanks to the soft silhouettes of the garment that is so reminiscent of the kimono.

The cap sleeves are a shortened and modified version of the famed kimono sleeves, the keyhole waist finished off with a bow remind you of the obi, and the deep V neckline was also derived from the V of the traditional kimono.

Intricacy, refinement and an understanding of the past and future where new perspectives honor tradition and beauty transcends – that’s the message that the designer Tadashi Shoji seemingly wants to convey.

As he said in his press notes, “It’s a season inspired by rediscovering heritage. Lacquerware’s decorative motifs inspire intricate embroideries and lacquer-like sheens.”

The works of Ukiyo-e artists, Hokusai and Utamaro, are referenced in print and silhouette alike, where fluid draping and graceful shapes pair with obi-inspired knotting.

“It’s a season inspired by expanding appreciation through beauty; by the elegance of Ikebana with bright, blossoming flowers, and by a wander through a Japanese garden, where chrysanthemums sparkle and peonies bloom.”

“It’s a season inspired by the feeling of enchantment when time and place define an everlasting moment. It’s an exciting conversation with a rider on the train who makes you think different. It’s the sensation of moving with elegance dressed in a Watteau gown, and it’s the flutter of emotion while watching cherry blossoms fall.”

And something to note, Tadashi Shoji put plus size models on the catwalk, thus making his runway show very inclusive. And I am glad that he did, even gladder that he took the time to really choose plus size models with the emphasis on the world “model.”

For the past several seasons, with the need to be politically correct, many designers use plus size models on their shows. But, instead of their presence being seamless, it was jarring. The reason – the so-called models choses looked like they were just taken off the streets, dressed them up and then sent on the catwalk. So, instead of adding to the statement of inclusiveness, their presence was just ignored.

This is the reason why I am mentioning here the thoughtfulness of Tadashi Shoji in casting professional plus size models. Because contrary to popular belief, everyone cannot be a model. It is a profession. And just like any profession, training is needed.

Thus, on the Tadashi Shoji catwalk, the plus size models seamlessly blended with the maison’s message of the season – intricacy and refinement, quiet luxury and the cultural richness of Japan. And, of course, true inclusiveness!

Photos courtesy of Tadashi Shoji

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