Many of us have seen the elaborate gold-lined kimonos worn by Heian-era Japanese noblewomen. The cascades of gilded textiles paired with silky raven hair depict a culture that values form, elegance, and an air of exclusivity.

Instead, this portrait session with the beautiful Eri Tachibana features juban textiles and boro fabrics worn by 17th-19th century women of the peasant class. Outspoken, resilient, and extremely hardworking, these women represent a side of Japanese womanhood that is often overshadowed by the more widely known narrative of the “demure Japanese woman.” Inspired by hand-painted vintage photographs of the Japanese peasant class and incognito noblewomen donning the okoso-zukin head scarf, Eri and I teamed up to explore the intricate layers of Japanese womanhood. We created three looks: the peasant, the traveling noblewoman, and a simple look featuring Eri in a juban undergarment. Enjoy.

Kakimono1

Ellie-744-WEBRESThese looks would not have been possible without the kindness and generosity of Kimono House in Soho, NYC who supplied the boro fabrics and the monpe pants, and Shibui in Dumbo Brooklyn, who supplied the juban, woven basket and kasa hat. Both of these local establishments listened to my vision intently and allowed me to sift through their (breathtaking) inventory to find the perfect pieces for Eri. I cannot thank them enough. If you live in NYC, do pay them a visit.

Ellie-258-WEBRES

provencial-june-2

Ellie-622-WEBRES

provencial-june-3

Ellie-440-WEBRES

Ellie-793-WEBRES

provencial-june-8

Ellie-421-WEBRES

Ellie-391-WEBRES

provencial-june-1

Ellie-249-WEBRES

Kakimono2

Ellie-61-WEBRES

Ellie-594-WEBRES

Photo Credit: The Denizen Co.