I'm not one to base a post on celebrity endorsements. I actually don't think I've ever really posted a picture on the blog that does the whole "Isn't this brand great because xxx wore it…" thing. Bj√∂rk however is one particular exception. Especially when she picks out a Royal College of Art graduate, two weeks after the college show and wear her pieces on the Biophilia tour (something she's familiar with as she chose to wear Soren Bach's headpieces when he presented his final year collection at the RCA). Let's put aside cynical attitudes about the relationship between a performer, his/her stylist and the hordes of young designers wanting to dress said performer – it IS an achievement to emerge from college and have such an instant surge of publicity and therefore I thought I'd single out Maiko Takeda's collection as one of the key graduates this year. Takeda's ethereal collection of headpieces, visors and body armour entitled "Atmospheric Reentry" was one of the visual wows of this year's Royal College of Art fashion show, making broadsheet picture round-ups for its sheer aesthetic power. Not to take away anything from the other graduates, who I'll be rounding up later in a separate post, but Takeda's position as the one womenswear graduate who specialised in millinery meant that she was able to leave a memorable calling card in everyone's minds.
I remember Takeda's work from her BA jewellery collection at Central Saint Martins, based on the idea of shadows as jewellery. Takeda took that idea of turning the intangible into a physical of adorning oneself again when she embarked on her MA at the Royal College of Art. From the very beginning, she was fixated with creating a swirl of cloud or smoke around the head, inspired by Phillip Glass' opera Einstein on the Beach, but found it difficult to find the right materials to do so. After trials of using different plastics and mounting them on to knitted bases and fabrics, she settled on turning humble acetate sheets into light reflecting shards. She'd load up her inkjet printer at home with acetate sheets overnight to print out gradiated ombre coloured sheets and then cut them up in to the required shapes, playing with proportions and colours. The result is a precisely fine-tuned collection of visible auras, which waft around the head in spherical form, as a visor, or around the upper body in in a mind-bending cloud or a balaclava/shrug hybrid where a knitwear base collaboration with Nicola Jones, allows Takeda's work to crossover into garments. Metal supports, plastic hair grips, and the actual ring construction of holding all the shards together are almost cleverly invisible because Takeda invades your senses with a sort of magical Northern Lights-esque colour movement and light reflecting shape shifting as the delicate acetate pieces bounce up and down on the head or on the body. It's no wonder Takeda got Bj√∂rk's patronage. Takeda whilst keen on setting up her own thing, isn't necessarily setttled on millinery as her discipline as she seems to have an affinity with unusual materials in general, which could see her go in several different directions. For now though, her head-bound atmospherics should be marvelled at. If you're lucky enough to be going to a Bj√∂rk gig over the next few months, it's likely you'll be able to do so in person there.