MARC SCHECHTER PHOTO
"Madame Pele" by Takeo
Fashion show takes Takeo full circle as a visual artist
Takeo will celebrate 30 years of fashion design with "New Beginnings," a fashion show Sunday afternoon hosted by the Japanese Women's Society Foundation at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel Ballroom.
The fashion designer has turned his clothing into canvases, gracing them with the bold calligraphic strokes of sumi brush and ink.
Japanese Women's Society Foundation fashion show
Time:Boutique sales from 9 a.m.; doors open at 11:30 a.m.; lunch at noon followed by show
Place:Sheraton Waikiki Hotel Ballroom
Tickets:$55 and $75
Skirts, blouses and dresses in Sunday's show will feature huge kanji characters not shown here because he wants attendees to be surprised.
Although "New Beginnings" is defined by the marriage of art and fashion design, "Actually, I'm repeating history," said the designer, who started his career as a visual artist before staging a fashion show in San Francisco that sent him on another trajectory.
"The show was a hit, so I went in that direction and forgot about art. This show is reconfirming myself as an artist."
At his first art show, at the Louis Pohl Gallery in January, Takeo sold all but one of his 15 pieces.
But merging his art with clothing did not come easy, as Takeo learned to adapt calligraphic technique to fabric that is much thicker and absorbent than canvas. Although he ruined a few dresses along the way, he said the result is "truly one of a kind. Nobody can copy because it's my hand. It's truly couture."
MARC SCHECHTER PHOTO
Takeo's "Flower" will be among the designs shown during the JWS fashion show Sunday.
He said the revitalization and rebirth of the area around his Nuuanu Avenue studio has also inspired him, as has the rise of street fashion.
Although choice of media might be different, he said, in today's visually oriented society, "You cannot separate fashion and art. I made a lot of friends who are young artists, and they say, 'Hey, you're just like us.'
"There's encouragement for everybody. We learn from each other."
Takeo's show will feature casual wear and sweaters, evening wear, a "homecoming" of gowns he's created for celebrities and beauty queens over three decades, and a wedding gown finale set to music from Puccini's "Madame Butterfly."
Such is Takeo's popularity within the community that more than 800 tickets were pre-sold. Net proceeds will go toward supporting senior-care programs at Kuakini Geriatric Care at Hale Pulama Mau.