Project Diaries: Meet Miss Hitomi

After two months, many hours of researching and digging for hidden stories and treasures, we finally reached the post-production phase of our project. 

But this is only the tip of the iceberg…

Text: Kelly Desipri

 

At first there were five original sources of inspiration, each of which led to a dozen more. This requires endless hours of research and it’s only when you’re too fed up with information to go on, that all defence mechanisms fail to correspond and, finally, you get opened up to the creative process.

After the first research was done, it was time for the fun part to start. Each of us came up with a character based on the research findings that we liked the most. Flipping through my sketchbooks with a relaxed and open mind I realized that I didn’t have to make anything up. My character was already there, all I had to do was connect the dots.

This is how I met Hitomi Kamenashi. She’s a japanese girl that fell in love with the most magnificent “gaijin” (tr. Foreigner in Japanese) and travelled around the world with him. She looks so fragile but one would be surprised by her inner courage and strength. She secretly left Japan drawn by her adventurous, her restless nature and, of course, the guy that urged her to draw her own path in life. Hitomi still carries her heritage, though, so she’s always soft looking and delicate, with a love for natural elements and long flowing silhouettes.

When her portrait was complete there came the time to dress her up with items from the latest collections. We were asked to put together ten outfits that our character would wear. For Hitomi each outfit stood for a different aspect of her personality and a different chapter of her story. It was such an enjoyable process, picking clothes for her and then finally watch her come to life.

In the end each of us picked one of the outfits and worked on them, in order to get it just right for our character. Fabric and material hunting came next and within ten days we had our outfits well on their way to completion! For Hitomi I had to make a maxi bias cut skirt, a long flowing organza top and a kimono-like jacket paired with a cherry blossom headpiece and porcelain patterns. It wasn’t easy, much advice and guidance was needed but I am very happy with how they turned out and I hope our teacher, Nicholas Georgiou, will be too.

Right now we are in the post-photoshoot phase, where we have to pick the background and the atmosphere for our photo and of course think about the hair and make up for the model. I think Hitomi is craving for a photograph inspired by the dreamy, elegant worlds created by Deborah Turbeville. I’m currently looking for paintings that will be projected on the wall as a background and discussing with our teacher and photographer for the project, Genevieve Majari, on how to best achieve that elusive yet high-end result I’m looking for.

The overall process is now one step before completion and we all work frantically to get the best out of it! Some of the themes suggested completely new unexplored worlds to me while others, with which I already shared a connection, spoke directly to my heart. In the end, mixing some of my favorite art eras -Art Nouveau-, natural elements and cultures -Meiji Era Japan- with the works of renowned photographers from the 1970s, gave my project its flesh and bones. All that’s left now is for the model and photographer to breathe life into it.

 

Read more about our Project Diaries here, here and here.