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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


 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.


 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.