… Living only for the moment, turning our full attention to the pleasures of the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maple leaves; singing songs, drinking wine, diverting ourselves in just floating …
— Asai Ryoi Tales of the Floating World 1661
Japanese art and culture have been a pivotal influence in Western culture for hundreds of years. Ukiyo “floating world” from Japan’s Edo period depicted a vibrant new section of society that enjoyed relaxation, humour and entertainment. It is said that ukiyo-e or “pictures of the Floating World”, had their origins in red light districts and often depicted scenes of kabuki theatre, bathhouses, geisha, sumo wrestlers and samurai. This industry spawned a flood of advertisements, in the form of inexpensive woodblock prints. These prints were set to revolutionise the international Art scene.
Parisians saw the first formal exhibition of Japanese art in 1867 at the World Fair. A fever spread across Europe and resulted in all things Japanese becoming fashionable.
Japanese textiles, ceramics, and prints by Hiroshige and Hokusai
influenced European artists who began adopting their motifs and aesthetic principles. The French called it Japonisme. Woodcut prints from the ukiyo-e school transformed Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art by demonstrating that everyday subjects could be presented in simple, decorative ways.
A lover of all things Japanese, Battersby’s latest collection pays homage to the legacy of the“Floating World.” Like the characters portrayed in Kabuki, comes a seductive collection with personality and humour.
Simple lines and bold shapes form the basis of the collection. Dymnamic floral patterns created from tapestry linen ebb and flow from Kimono style jackets paired with high waisted pants, romantic shirts and vintage floral print t-shirts. Wrap dresses and skirts in rich green linen, shoulders bared in seductive sumptuous black, assymetrical slashes of flame red silk and touches of gold hint at luxurious textiles of a bygone era.