Kyoko Shimada’s horsey line

 

From the beginning, Junko Shimada was always considered the most Parisian of the Japanese designers and a stark contrast to the intellectual minimalism of Yamamoto or Comme de Garcons.

 

”My mum liked the sexy suits of the 80s and she got married to a Frenchman. Today I use the Japanese eye to make the clothes younger and not so bourgeois by playing with print, colours and cut. Like my mother, I design for the liberated, European woman and not the obedient Japanese, ” tells Kyoko who also put the strong woman at center stage at Lavalliere.

 

”All my friends in fashion are fascinated by the equestrian world. They think riders are so sexy – it’s a fantasy for them. The women are elegant and strong. Three hours of competition is tough. That is why I like the image of the woman in this sport,” tells Kyoko who competed in the French Championships as a teenager. Today, she goes fox hunting in England while she sometimes jumps in one star shows on her seven year old selle francais that is stabled at El Fursan in Chantilly.

 

 “All my friends in fashion are fascinated by the equestrian world. They think riders are so sexy – it’s a fantasy for them. The women are elegant and strong.”

 

”It used to be the stables of Marie Courrèges – she made the park and the cross country field. The first Courrèges cars were made there and now the place belongs to a Saudi princess.

My trainer inspires me a lot and I watch the stars and learn from them. I’d like to dress some of them one day,” she tells.

 

HANDMADE BY ARTISANS

 

All collections are made from scratch by artisans.

”I’m obsessed with the materials. I touch them before I do anything and I always end up having chosen the most expensive. But that is the dna of the house – that everything is the very best, ” tells Kyoko who sends Thomas off to scout for new materials.

”The first collection had a lot of tweed and we played with the classic British style. In the next one, we work on the lace that is made in Galloway in Scotland. It is one of the last lace manufacturers, they produce for brands like Chanel,” he tells.

”There used to be a hundred mills like that and now there are just a few.  They’re very slow but very good. They have to put everything in the machines the used for 200 years.  They weave it the same way the always did. You can replicate what they do but the quality is never the same.

A lot of luxury brands are buying into these mils and their skill sets. People are going back to the specialists because you can work the way you want, weave different wools and weights, get fabrics other people don’t have.”

 

A GLOBAL PASSION

 

To Kyoko, bringing the horses back to the city is at the heart of it all.

”In Paris, Hermès have helped bring out the sport to people. Until the 1990s there were show jumping events on Champ-de-mars with the Eiffel tower as a backdrop but that has ended. There are still horses at Ecole Militaire but they don’t make any shows.

Bartabas – I love what he is doing and his shows in Versailles.

I love Polo de Bagatelle and the style there.

I always see the racehorses in training when I ride in Chantilly. But only this year I went to Longchamp for the Prix de l’Arc. The euphoria was amazing just as the horses. To bet on them makes it even more exiting. The presentation paddock is magnificent and the racing stables in Chantilly are just incredible. All the preparations that go into the sport are fascinating. When I see them train I get even more into it.”

 

”I’m obsessed with the materials. I touch them before I do anything and I always end up having chosen the most expensive.” 

 

 ”Generally, I think people look for the lifestyle that the equestrian world has to offer. In Asia horses are becoming very popular, and in China I’m told, it is the most popular sport there is.

I loved the Saudi Equestrian’s new version of the Nation’s Cup – that sort of thing gives a new energy to a sport that otherwise becomes dusty. I also want to go to Palm Beach – Alexandra Paillot spoke to me about the place and all the events and rows of stables there.”

 ”With Lavallière, I live what I do. It’s not a marketing concept but a passion and it goes for all the people who contribute to this label. We’re all from the creative world and we connect with people in different places.

Fashion needs diversity and we’re not aiming to become a part of a big luxury group and then live with the pressures and the expectations. I’m also a mother, and I have a three year old girl who will soon start riding at Chantilly. My boyfriend is an artist who makes modern art. It’s hard but we both live our passion and that is an incredible opportunity.

 

 

Kyoko in the saddle

© Horse-Tales.com

 

 

 

 

 

Previous page