I’ve always been enchanted by all kinds of Japanese artistic expressions, including music, fashion, food (yes, because sushi is art!) and graphics. It was no surprise that when I started the creative process for this collection I was immediately taken by the beauty and simplicity of the Japanese patterns. It’s amazing that although many of the traditional japanese designs had been reinterpreted and transformed through the years, most of the patterns have antecedents going back more than nine hundreds years to the Heian period (794-1185).
Eventually I came across some interesting examples of the visual poetry that is the traditional Japanese design, and chose the seigaiha and the koi fish to beautify this first AURAI collection.
Seigaiha (waves from the blue ocean)
This orderly seigaiha pattern was first used in the Momoyama period (1576-1603) to decorate the sumptuous robes of the Noh theater. Initially applied in opulent gold leaf, the design became popular during the Edo period (1603-1868) in a miniature version used for kimonos worn by the samurai class. Many variations of this pattern are used today, particularly for chiyogami and ebosho (decorated papers). Although this interpretation may seem rather basic, the simplicity and the elegance of the design have always been greatly valued.
Koi (Japanese word for carp) go hand in hand with Japanese culture and history. It is a symbol of good fortune, courage, determination, independence, individualism, longevity, love and transformation.
Many of the symbolic meanings of koi fish stem from the Chinese legend of the Dragon Gate in which a koi fish swam upstream, through waterfalls and other obstacles to reach the top of the mountain. The legend says that when the koi finally reached the top, it triumphantly became a dragon, one of the most auspicious creatures in Chinese culture.
Unlike the seigaiha, for which I decided to maintain the original form, the koi pattern is clearly a fun and colorful reinterpretation of the many koi fish illustrations that served as inspiration for this first AURAI collection. I hope you like them!