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MAIKO TAKEDA by Kalby McNally


MOVING IN SHADOWS Central Saint Martins graduate Maiko Takeda takes jewellery design to another level.

Maiko Takeda is a jewellery design graduate from Central Saint Martins. Her graduate collection saw the human body and shadows working together to form the main elements of her designs – this gained her a lot of attention. Here she talks about that collection, her time at Saint Martins and what she is doing at the moment.


My graduate collection, Cinematography, shows that shadows can be worn as adornment. The concept is that the jewellery needs to be worn in order to be fully appreciated. Each piece is simply made of a sheet of mesh metal on which I drilled thousands of holes by hand in different sizes, and once the light shines through the piece the shadow unexpectedly appears on the body as a photograph-like image of organic forms. Although it is an ephemeral and temporary material the shadow remains as a secretive yet main part of the piece.



The human body is an extremely important element of my work. When I design jewellery I want it to have the same quality as a piece of art, not just merely an accessory for the body. The body in turn, works as a device to convey my art.

I originally started the project by analysing the things I didn’t like about jewellery design. What I came up with determined my idea for Cinematography; jewellery is usually restricted to certain parts of the body – the neck, fingers, wrists and ears. This is boring to me – the body has such an interesting and complex structure, surface and shape that it should not be wasted. Also the materials in jewellery design can be extremely limited with the assumption that they have to be solid, durable and tangible. These elements of dislike bought me to the realisation that shadows could be a very beautiful alternative to physical jewellery. I am often inspired by natural occurrences that have no set physical shapes or substances, like shadows, smoke, light, sound, I believe that the most beautiful subtlety is within these.

Another look into the miand and heart of Maiko Takeda.

Another look into the miand and heart of Maiko Takeda.

I wanted to create recognisable shapes to be projected as shadows onto the body. I sought to create an unexpected contrast between the pieces of jewellery and their shadow, to give a separate quality, so I intentionally chose organic motifs, roses, eyes, a cat face and a lizard. I experimented with many different types of cat faces, lizards, eyes and flowers to find the most effective image to compliment the body – it was a long process! I was so nervous but very excited at the same time when I showed cinematography. The feedback I received was amazing, something which I had not expected. I think the prestige that surrounds Central Saint Martins meant that a lot of interesting people attended my final degree show. They were able to understand the concept behind my work and its potential, which was extremely exciting for me. I came to London to study Jewellery design from Tokyo in 2005. I wanted to experience a big city where I barely knew anybody or anything – it was one of the toughest but most exciting times of my life, I would have regretted so much if I decided not to move. London is such an amazing place to live; the people are very open-minded to different things. It is such a complex city where there is endless exploring; I find new things every day. I must admit though, it gets a little annoying when the tubes get cancelled every weekend! Studying at Saint Martins enabled me to meet some of the most amazing people; they all inspire me in so many different ways. We were able to take part in some brilliant projects throughout the BA – they were often in collaboration with or sponsored by major established companies like Cartier, Swarovski or Cool Diamonds. I actually managed to

work with Stephen Jones* while I was studying. I had such a great experience there. I love his designs and respect him so much as a designer and also as a person, I was extremely grateful that he gave me the opportunity to work so closely with him. We have kept in touch since my placement, he actually recommended me as a future talent for the ‘Future Lights’ project for Wallpaper magazine this January, which was such a huge compliment. I worked at the model department while I was there – that’s where they make the couture hats. I was there during the whole of fashion week and so I was able to get involved in projects for Marc Jacobs, John Galliano and Comme des Garcon, it was an amazing experience. Now I have graduated I have been collaborating with some fashion designers; Maria Francesca Pepe, Jenny Packham and Erickson Beamon. I worked with Erickson Beamon as costume jewellery designer for some window displays. I was able to see Maria’s whole new collection, which I collaborated with her on, come to life at Fashion Week this February, which was amazing. This was a great opportunity for me to meet some more inspiring designers such as Soren Bach and see their new collections too. For my own collection, I went to Tranoi in Paris for the first time in September. Tranoi is a sort of gathering that takes place four times a year during Paris fashion weeks, we get to meet with some of the best fashion ambassadors and show our best work, It’s such a nice atmosphere there. At the moment though I am working on my new collection to present in a few months time. I am also quite excited to be making some one-off pieces for my first solo exhibition in Tokyo in November this year.

FASHION GETS INKED From Sailors and War heroes to Chanel and Victoria Beckham, it would seem that tattoos have finally reached the mainstream.

Once upon a time, you had to be a rather interesting individual to warrant a display of skin-ink. Tattoos were once the preserve of sailors, war heroes and ex convicts. They served many as a blue and blurry reminder of the lives they had led, the places they had visited and the loves they had lost. You would often see a war veteran with a significant number poignantly etched onto his skin, while sailors and ex cons would have ‘love’ and ‘hate’ emblems outlined shakily by their own hand. It was extremely rare to find tattoos on anyone that wasn’t one of the above. To-

day however, it seems almost strange if you haven’t experienced the pain of a tattooist’s needle. Standing as a proud display of identity and individuality, tattoos initially seem like a good idea. Expressing love for someone by scripting his or her name forever onto the epidermis is the epitome of an old romantic. However, fast-forward to a fairytale wedding in which the bride has the name of a previous lover emblazoned on her arm in Chinese script and you’ll soon spot that unmistakeable look of regret.

So why are tattoos so popular? Apparently the same reason that the ever so unforgiving legging was seen on every Tom, Dick and Harry last year; they are fashionable Darling. Megan Fox, Angelina Jolie, Victoria Beckham, it’s almost de rigueur to have a tattoo if you want to make it onto the A-list. They scream ‘now’ so seductively that people want them, and those that don’t want them already have them. It’s been a long road of acceptance for body art to enter into the mainstream. For years now, the big guns have featured tattooinspired garments to no avail. In the eighties, John Richmond launched his diffusion line, Destroy which, although popular with rebellious teens were disregarded as a fad by the fashion elite. Whilst the bigger brands of the time were dressing middle class fashionista’s, Richmond was catering to a distinctly hipper and more urban audience, with an accessible, affordable range of biker jackets, bandannas, denim jackets and waistcoats; the epitome of an eighties rebel. Most of the items saw tattoo-inspired

patterns; the words ‘destroy’ were inscribed on the arms of long sleeved t-shirts imitating the ‘full sleeve’ a la David Beckham. Chinese dragons, tribal patterns and entwined scrolls adorned leather jackets. In 1994, heavyweight Jean Paul Gaultier brought body art to the forefront of bad boy fashion by sending the collection Tattoos and Piercings down the catwalk. The collection featured his now signature “tattoo” tulle t-shirts for the first time. Heavily tattooed models with excessive amounts of piercings paraded down the catwalk in Gaultier’s similarly adapted attire. Always one to rebel against the then standard rules of fashion etiquette, the collection consisted of skin-tight fabrics with tattoo-esque prints. Nude coloured tops with bold prints showcased tattoo fakery in all its glory.

A little ahead of their time though it would seem as Gaultier and Richmond’s tattoo-inspired collections stayed within their niche market audiences. A little too ‘out there’ for the era that pop was at its reign perhaps. However, it seems that the liberal 21st Century has proved the right time for body art to hit the fashion world. JPG or the enfant terrible as he was once proudly named bought tattoos back with a vengeance and made them this years spring/ summer’s must-have accessory, with an ever so slightly less inyour-face attitude, of course. Gaultier showcased his body art by etching the names of his models in gothic style calligraphy on various parts of their bodies; face, neck, arms and chest. Much to the disappointment of fashions critiques, the tattoos on show were of the temporary sort. Although we are all well aware that the fashion world can be a little irrational (leggings?) tattooing the face in the name of fashion could branch into the bracket of insanity. Make-up artists spent hours drawing the Gothic writing

on each of the models by hand. Rodarte also had make-up artists creating temporary tattoos. Teaming up with MAC experts, tribal prints were painted onto models in a Maori-inspired geometric look with full sleeves and neck designs on show for a futuristic feel. Karl Lagerfeld, well known for his penchant for spotting an upcoming trend, also bought tattoo fakery to the catwalk. Creating a more marketable temporary tattoo, Chanel showcased intricate designs that adorned the models; delicate rosary beads with fairytale swallows draped over the shoulders and wrapped around wrists. Each design decorated with the signature double C. Elaborate detailing forming bracelets and garters created a signature look in the good girl gone bad-esque collection. Able to instil immediate want and desire by the majority of the female population, it seems that Chanel’s recent direction of ‘How to look good this season by Lagerfeld’ has proved right yet again. Whoever succumbed to the legendary quilted bag and tweed

jacket can’t have failed to acknowledge Chanels influence on their look and so when Lagerfeld introduced tattoos into his latest collection, was there ever going to be a doubt in sight? With the fashion world sitting securely in his gloved hands, clearly the only sane thing to do was follow suit. What would have once conjured up childhood images of bitty ink transfers has now transformed into this seasons must-have. Sarah Jessica Parker has already embraced the Chanel temporary look earlier this year at the Oscars, and with the rest of the fashion elite are following extremely closely behind. It seems that what would have once been heralded as something someone ‘alternative’ would wear upon their skin has been hijacked by an army of fashionista’s, celebs and middle-class professionals. Not an ‘alternative’ person in sight, queue the thousand screaming MySpace kids. But that’s fashion darling.

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