Ancient Japanese folk tales, Samurai armour and traditional Japanese woodcut prints inspired the Spring Summer 2015 collection, entitled Folklore Japonica.

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Above is a section of the mood board for the collection, which was influenced by three primary legends. Sabina creates a back-story for each design, a narrative to tell through the drawing. In this case, the stories came from Japanese folk tales – along with a touch of artistic license.

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Above: Re-coloured photograph of a group of samurais from 1865 by Felice Beato

Many Japanese myths represent certain creatures as deities, spirits or shape-shifters with magical qualities. These tales often hold moral lessons for the listener.; a powerful message of good and evil, not to be tampered with. Often told through ancient woodcut prints, the stories are passed down through generations. Dreamlike images of cautionary fables; an ancient lesson for those losing their way.

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The Dancing Fox scarf is inspired by the story of Genkuro, a shape-shifting fox character who rescues Shizuka Gozen, the lover of warrior Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura, and brings her safely home. He is rewarded with beautiful, gilded armour, and dances a Kitsune Roppo (fox six step) to show his gratitude.

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The colour palette for the scarves was largely taken from antique japanese woodcut prints, like the one shown below. This image depicts Genkuro on his voyage to rescue Shizuka Gozen.

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The Silver Hare scarf is inspired by the companion to the moon goddess, Chang’e. The hare offers himself as food to a hungry warrior, wandering alone, by jumping into his fire. This selfless act impresses the great warrior, and he casts a spell to leave a smoky impression of the hare on the moon for the rest of eternity. There is still a belief that a full moon reveals the hare in all his glory.

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The detail in the heavy embroidery and the incredible work that goes into each piece of armour is unbelievable. It also creates a beautiful pattern and texture in the designs as they’re worn on the body.

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 Last but not least, The Takeru Heron scarf honours the legendary warrior prince Yamato Takeru. According to Japanese legend, his soul transformed into a great white bird in death. Legend has it that he still flies the rice fields looking for home.

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 Herons feature heavily in Japanese illustration and legend, particularly the flash of red from their beautiful crowns. The embroidery below is from an unknown artist on fine woven bamboo.

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