Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Daffodils is surely a famous poem by William Wordsworth which overcomes us with nostalgia ~wandering around a lush green forest or parks when in childhood or a holiday, carefree of all the daily hustle and bustle of lives,.... it is definitely a fairytale land.

Well, let me take you back to the forest and introduce you the “Mori Girls”…they are the Fairytale Forest Wanderers. ‘Mori’ as in ‘forest’ in Japanese is initially believed to have been a name of the community launched in August 2006 in Mixi (a Japanese networking service). Since then, it has spread far beyond the online community into the real world. Mori Girls have a soft and very feminine look. They dress up like they live in the forests in loose dresses, delicate vintage prints and quaint accessories. It is a new subculture and a fashion movement that is becoming very popular  amongst the women in Japan.

These girls like to live life in their own terms. They are attracted or inspired by European culture and cherish Vintage / Victorian dresses. Ideal to their looks is to have fluffy and curly hair and layering A-line dresses and tired skirts with soft materials giving an airy feel to it, clothes that appear natural in style but have a bit of a twist, folkloric clothes and deep hues. They wear a lot of knits, furs, classic prints, ponchos, capes, leather bags, lace and hand crafted clothes and accessories which they probably make themselves. They delight in beautiful fabrics and textures, preferring natural to synthetic materials. Colours include autumnal shades, forest greens, blues and a lot of whites, compared to the other subcultures in Japan it is nice to see they wear minimal makeup!. They also prefer Autumn and Winter seasons.

I’d say Mori Girls are quite homely people and creative too as they like art and crafts, sewing, collecting antiques & furniture, baking, etc. Even though many mori girls live in the city they live a slow paced life regardless of what other people may think. They have solitary interests like going to the libraries, riding bicycles, they’d rather wander around with their old cameras and take pictuers or read books in a cafĂ©. Their childlike nature and unique appearance is what attracts people to join their adventures.

In the recent years like anyother subcultures mori girls have also evolved.   As taste varies in diferent people , now you can find many variations of Mori Girl- authentic styles, folklore styles, feminine style, and even denim styles. This subculture has bloomed so much that it is a constant topic in the fashion and lifestyle magazines (Japanese) such Spoon, Valon, Palm magazine , Mori Girl papier, Fudge etc...
   There are many brands a mori girls loves ~ Marble sud, Furfur, Wonder rocket, Mother are a few to name but most of all its a shop like no other called 'Grimoire'  owned by Hitomi Nomura that stores all the magic for these fairytale wanderers.

Hitomi Nomura is one of the leading Mori Icons. She is an inspiration to many women around. A former fashion student who loves European vintage, flowers and dolls, goes around the globe handpicking every piece of vintage to add to her Japan store. She also styles for many fashion mgazines and is often featured in them. Grimoire is indeed a very unique shop, just by the look of it, the interior seems to be like that of a childrens' fairy tale book!                                                          

❀~A short interview on Hitomi Nomura~❀
Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?
H: I played computer games as a little child. I like European story book ( fairytale, the grimm), Victorian art and culture. My inspiration comes from European culture.

Q: Who is your fashion Icon?
H: Characters in story book, Tyrolean traditional fashion, Vintage fashion.

Q: Have you visited London? what is your London memory?
H: I Have been to London once for Vintage Shopping.

Q: What do you like doing in your free time?
H: I like to go to cafe. I like to drink tea.

Q: What is your life's Philosophy?
H: Where there is a will, There is a way.

Q: What makes you laugh?
H: When I find very cute clothing, I am very happy.

Q: Which shops do you like the most?
H: Star Bucks!

Q: What do you most like wearing?
H: Vintage dresses, Tyrolean dresses.

Q: What advice would you give to a tourist coming to Japan?
H: Lets go to Kyoto. Kyoto is very beautiful.

Q: Which animal would you like to be?
H: Cat.
Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
H: Irish Celt music.

Q: What would you save from fire?
H: Beautiful movie and Great parsons word.

Q: Did you enjoy this interview? how do you feel?
H: I enjoyed this interview!. I am very interested in London's culture.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?
H: I am selling vintage clothing.


❀Designers relating to the Mori Girl Subculture❀

✿ John Galliano ✿ 
John Galliano’s Fall 2009 ready-to-wear lists among the most spectacular shows to date, which relates to my subculture. With laser lightening that created a magical illusion on the runway made it look like some fairy-tale land far away. For this collection his influence we see, comes from Russian-Balkan folklore. The amazing works of embroidery and every inch of detail that is so delicately made lavished on pannier-hipped, full-skirted coats, balloon-sleeved peasant blouses, bodices, headdresses, and pompom-trimmed cross-laced boots.
Fall 2009 RTW
John Galliano known as the fashion’s great romantic being one of the most influential artists in the fashion industry rose to fame with his first graduation show in Central St. Martins in 1984. His collection was themed on French Revolution titled ‘Les Incroyables’ , which lead him to international scene.  He is known for his remarkable flair for the theatrical and continues to amuse us with his every show being a magical experience. He was born in Gibraltar but later his family moved to London when he was six years old. He has been awarded British Designer of the Year in 1987, 1994, 1995 and also in 1997, he shared the award with Alexandra McQueen who was his successor at Givenchy. Later in 2001, the designer was made a Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
Fall 2009 RTW
Whereas, in the commercial world, even for someone as remarkable as John Galliano, the path to success was not quite smooth. Having lost his backers and with no money to show for seasons, he moved to Paris in the early nineties. Galliano struggled to get his label off the ground, but with a little help from socialite Sao Schlumberger and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, he scraped together a supermodel-studded show—and made fashion history. In 1995 Galliano finally got the break he so richly deserved, he became the first English man to head a French couture house, when he was put in charge of Givenchy as the creative director. A year later he was appointed the design director of Dior, a position he has continued to hold until this year. Currently, between his own label and Dior, Galliano produces six couture and ready-to-wear collections a year and a new mid-season range under his own name "G Galliano".
Fall 2009 RTW
Galliano never fails to convince his audience with his show that always has a story to tell. His knack for taking themes and styles, often Latin or romantic, from the past, and somehow making them contemporary and edgy, is astonishing. His genius is his ability to communicate this through his clothes.

✿ Kenzo ✿

Kenzo’s Fall 2006 RTW was inspired by Puccini’s Turandot. Designer Antonio Marras set a fanciful collection with lots of bold floral prints and color pallet that seemed to be of deep forest shades were seen in pinafore dresses in embroidered silk, mohair knits, wrap coats and layers.
Fall 2006 RTW
Kenzo Takada is a Japanese born designer, who is also the founder of Kenzo, a worldwide fashion lable of clothes, perfumes, skincare products, etc. The look epitomizes ‘West meets East’, merging fun prints with an ethnic vibe, flowers, and textures to blend Kenzo’s natural Japanese influences with Parisian culture. He trained at Tokyo’s Bunka College of Fashion in Japan and moved to Paris in 1960’s. Kenzo’s success started in 1970 with the opening of his first store ‘Jungle Jap’. During this year he also presented his first show at the Vivienne Gallery. His collection was presented in New York and Tokyo in 1971. In the following year, he won the Fashion Editor Club Of Japan’s Prize. In 1993, Kenzo launched the first menswear, and five years later, the first Kenzo Fragrances and skin care lines KenzoKi.
Fall 2006 RTW
He made a huge step toward changing fashion scene in Paris and opened a new path for designers to follow after him. In the beginning his designs were steeped in traditional Japanese designs with focus n the kimono. His garments fell into the hands of the younger set and created worldwide appeal when he began using the big silhouette. The modern look mixed East and West sensibilities and revolutionized fashion. Since 1993, the label Kenzo is owned by the French luxury goods company LVMH (Louis Vuitton Mot Hennessy). Kenzo is a great colorist and a fine tailor, mixing multi-culture aspects and converging them into one. Always with a feeling for exotic and fun, he has appealed to audiences for over thirty years. He continued to move further into experimenting with layers and pattern. Being original and a trendsetter, Kenzo moved his style into home furnishings market. His approach remains full of color, simple shapes and an original mix of tradition and folklore.
Fall 2006 RTW
At the age of 60, Kenzo Takada retired in 1999. Gilles Rosier designed the Kenzo womenswear, whereas Roy Krejberg designed the menswear until 2003. Antonio Marras a Sardinia-based designer was hired as Creative Director in 2003, who continues the original vision of creating clothes for women or men who is not afraid of color or prints, but still wants to look pulled together.

✿ Jean Paul Gaultier ✿
Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall couture 2005 collection is rich and folkloric including swirling, tiered gypsy skirts, baggy pants tucked into fur-edged boots inspired from religious icons, folk art and Asiatic ethnic costumes.
Fall 2005 couture
French designer Jean Paul Gaultier known as the ‘enfant terrible’ (bad boy) in French with his creation of the infamous cone-shaped bra for Madonna’s the Blonde Ambition tour has in fact never had a formal training as a designer. Instead he started by sending out sketches to famous couture stylists at an early age. Pierre Cardin was impressed by his talent and hired him as an assistant in 1970. Gaultier worked for Cardin for two years. He then spent a year designing for Jacques Esterel before joining the House of Patou in Paris, working with designers Angelo Tarlazzi and Michael Goma for three years. In 1976 several of Gaultier's sketches were published in Mode Internationale, a French fashion magazine. The sketches were favorably received by the design world. That same year Gaultier launched his design career under his own label for a company called Mayagor, as well as continuing to design free-lance ready-to-wear furs, swimwear, and leather clothing.
Fall 2005 couture
His first individual collection was released in 1976 and his characteristic irreverent style dates from 1981. Gaultier was sometimes called the Prince of Perversity. He was known for keeping a keen winking eye on young London and New York Street fashions, reinterpreting them with a dash of Parisian panache, then pushing them out on his runways. Some of his most recognizable cutting-edge designs are jackets, dresses, and jumpsuits with indiscreet cutouts that make the garments resemble cages. His unique designs also include dresses and tops with sliced open breasts and bra-like torpedo inserts, fichu off-the-shoulder tops, multi-colored Lycra, vinyl and leather bike pants, and kilt-ish skirts for men. In 1997 Gaultier displayed couture for the first time in a Paris show. Gaultier was the only designer in the show to feature couture for men as well as women. Also in the Paris show were corsets for men. Gaultier caused shock by using unconventional models for his exhibitions, like older men and full-figured women, pierced and heavily tattooed models, and by playing with traditional gender roles in the shows. This earned him both criticism and enormous popularity. He is also well-known for his exhibit in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art known as Bravehearts — Men in Skirts.

Fall 2005 couture
In 1987, Gaultier received the coveted French designer of the year award. On June 15, 2000, Gaultier was given the International Award at the American Fashion Awards, presented by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Gaultier’s popularity comes partially from the risks that he takes in his designs and theatrical shows. He is constantly at the edge of boundaries with his master craftsmanship and exquisite attention to detail.

❁~Press/ Styling/ Photography and Marketing~❁
Amongst all the magazines featuring mori girls as it gets more popular, Mori Girl Lesson magazine is the bible for this subculture.This magazine is out every season and it teaches you how to be a mori girl, how to dress, where to shop and other acivities a mori girl likes.
Mori Girl Lesson no

Its a lifestyle magazine with the latest trends in the subculture circle. It gives you all the information from hair styles to co-ordinating the garments to suit different personalities, art and crafts, shopping areas and brands with lots of good visuals and lovely layouts.

In 2010 Vogue Nippon, the works of stylist Sabino Pantone and photographer Andreas Sjodin is amazing. Looking at the angelic styling and the atmosphere of the pictures it does reflect to mori girl subculture without a doubt. There is a strong similarity with the florals, lace and neutral coloured flowy garments. the use of straw hats and flowers is very trendy among the mori girls.

Vogue Nippon

Two prime examples/muse of mori  girls are japanese actress You Aoi (right) and the manga character Hagumi or Hagu (left). Hagu is a mori girl's fictional archetype- she is an art student in the manga Honey and Clover, which is also a movie played by the same actress.
Honey and clover (movie)
You Aoi is one of the few actresses who are linked to the Mori Girl by the media. Well, I could not agree more, maybe its her sense of style in the movies or the characters she has played being similiar to mori style. Aoi's personal style has always been soft and simple and the characters she portrays in the movies tend to be more artsy and low-key type. She was chosen by Spoon magazine to embody the mori girl image. 

❀~ Music~❀
Mori girl subculture are drawn towards music that is earthy, celtic, folkloric, and instrumental. As they are naturally very calm, laidback and dreamy personalities they prefer smooth music to soothe them away the chatoic world. Some of the listed bands/singers are KOKIAEmily LoizeauMidori HiranoAgnes Obel to name a few. Among them I find Kokia very captivating with her distinctive music. Akiko Yoshida is a Japanese singer/ songwriter, who performs under the stage name Kokia. She is best known for her song 'Arigato'. She is also recognised for her numerous contributions to anime/ game/ drama soundtracks. Kokia often performs in Europe, basing her activities in Paris.
Her album Fairy Dance was recorded in Ireland and it has a twist of both celtic and folklore. Since Ireland is home to celtic music  this particuliar album is no doubt a mori music. She produces classical music, also collaborates with musicians all around the globe thus her music is very unique and with her spiritual voice she captivates the hearts by her magic.

❁~Mori girl loves...~❁

 In London there are many places a mori girl would love to go to: art galleries, libraries, theartres, especially vintage markets like Portobelo, Camden Town and Brick lane for shopping  vintage clothes and collectables or even just taking a stroll with a camera. These places are not only tourist destinations but home to many subcultures. Beyond Retro and Absolute Vintage are among the top vintage shops where you can find amazing one off pieces/ accessories. these markets have everything a mori girl loves from antiques,  furnitutes, jewellery, textiles, books, and many music stalls. Despite the whiole fascination with forests and flowers mori girls are city girls but unlike other subcultures Mori girl do not go to clubs and bars but prefer a fuss free and enjoyable way riding on a bike to solitary places like parks and small cafes. Bicycles also feed a mori girls' love for vintage items.
Their lifestyle seems content with solitude, however that doesnt close them off from a social life intentionally. A mori girl has no qualms about going off to wander into the forest or enjoying a cup of tea and an old book in thier favourite coffee shop. Even if they inhibit the bustling and upward mobility of the city, mori girls reminds us to slowly savour little things in life. She prefers to live unfettered and uncluttered. Mori girls carry themselves with a quiet strength!