NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (FEBRUARY 07, 2013) (REUTERS) - Designer Tadashi Shoji created romantic gowns for Fall 2013 in rich velvets and lace that recalled an exiled Russian princess for his runway show on Thursday (February 7), the first day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.
Shoji dipped into the Romanovs' jewel box for his color palette of sapphire, burgundy, jet black and carmine red. He spoke with Reuters Television about his inspiration for his fall/winter runway collection.
"Princess. Royal princess is escaping from St. Petersburg or Russia and wearing, disguising, peasant-look, peasant-girl. But we can't make
peasant-girl, so looks dressy peasant-girl," Shoji said, referring to the fall of the Russian Empire in the February revolution of 1917.
He used fabrics that move and breathe with the modern woman. Neoprene, a stretchy synthetic material favored for workout clothes and outerwear, got a glamourous upgrade for some of Shoji's ballgowns and capelets.
"When you go to party, I think you don't want, like ... just zip up and go to the party and dancing and drinking, talking. And you have to enjoy life. So because of the garment, I make this kind of, use this kind of fabric and this kind of dress."
Shoji, who was born in Japan and studied design in the United States, is based in Los Angeles. He launched his own label in 1982. Since then, he has built up a global clientele of women who need gowns for galas and weddings - and celebrities who must look good on the red carpet. Last year, he was in the spotlight when actress Octavia Spencer wore his gown on the night that she won her first Oscar. Next: He plans to open a store in Beijing.
"This is my first time coming to New York Fashion Week. I like it. It's a phenomenon and it's very lively. I came to the Tadashi show because of the outline and fit," Zhang said.
One long red gown with daring black lace panels and beading looked like the designer was playing Russian roulette with his muse. This style may have been his sly way of sending a valentine to his fans in Asia, where red is the color of joy.