'Heavy Petal' shoot: fashion editor Ursula Geisselmann’s mood board

'Heavy Petal' shoot, inspired by designers
The opening spread of our W*168 March issue 'Heavy Petal' shoot, inspired by how designers have interpreted floral motifs in their collections this season, as well as by Japanese art during the Edo period
(Image credit: GEORGE HARVEY)

My inspiration for this story came after seeing how designers had interpreted florals this season. I noticed that, as well as the usual shapes and colours, there were more graphic and minimalist florals, which reminded me of Japanese art during the Edo period and the influence of the samurai elite and its culture.

During the Edo period (1615-1868), Japan was ruled by the military classes. Their ideals were virtue and loyalty, as well as the canons of Zen Buddhism. These ideals gave rise to a new aesthetic, rooted in the beliefs of fastidiousness, simplicity and the beauty of the evanescence of time.

The term wabi-sabi best describes the art of the period. Originally meaning ’lonely’, ’sad’ and ’withered’, it came to define the complex set of aesthetic values that saw beauty in the rustic, imperfect and worn down by time. This gave rise highly ritualised pursuits such as tea and incense ceremonies, poetry and Noh theatre and all the arts that surrounded these.

Rinpa (opens in new tab), an artistic style created in Kyoto around the 17th century by Hon’ami Koetsu and Tawaraya Sotatsu, and consolidated by brothers Korin and Kenzan Ogata later on, was rooted in the same aesthetic principles, centred around the melancholy and ephemeral beauty of nature and the seasons.

Rinpa artists used these in exciting new ways by extracting elements such as flowers and other motifs and arranging them in groups and placing them on empty backgrounds (gold and silver were used widely) to give a sense of dynamism and vitality. It is this use of motifs as graphic, decorative elements that I wanted to look at. Contemporary designers have used these types of floral patterns on prints, cut-out shapes, embroidery or appliqués.

Heavy Petal’ shoot: fashion editor Ursula Geisselmann’s

Clockwise from top: Scroll painted with flowers by Tawaraya Sotatsu and inscribed with poems by Hon'ami Koetsu, courtesy: stlukesguild.com; set by AMO / OMA for the Miu Miu S/S 2013 show; 'Flowers' by Nobuyoshi Araki, courtesy: wilderquarterly.com; set in different-coloured wood designed by design studio Diplomates for Damir Doma's S/S 2013 womenswear show, courtesy: Diplomates; one of Marton Perlaki's images for The Room magazine, courtesy: Marton Perlaki, The Room; Tokonoma of 'Tanin' in Kyoto; a rustic tatami floor hut was designed by revered tea master Sen no Rikyu in the 16th Century that was used for chanoyu (tea ceremonies), courtesy: columbia.edu

(Image credit: GEORGE HARVEY)

A modeling photoshoot

Clockwise from top: Handscroll with flowers and poems (circa 1600-1630) by Tawaraya Sotatsu and Hon'ami Koetsu, courtesy: Corbis Images (opens in new tab); jacket with embroidered flowers by Christian Dior, courtesy: Style.com (opens in new tab); black and white photography of an Iris by Edward Steichen; Incense paper decorated with plum blossoms on gold background by Ogata Korin, courtesy: Modern Tokyo Times (opens in new tab); outfit with laser-cut Japanese flowers by Sharon Wauchob, courtesy: Style.com (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: GEORGE HARVEY)

Clockwise from top: Jacket embroidered with flowers

Clockwise from top: Jacket embroidered with flowers by Christian Dior; dress with printed flowers by Prada; dress with flower appliqué by Rue du Mail, all courtesy: Style.com (opens in new tab); scroll with chrysanthemums and poems by Hon'ami Koetsu, courtesy: Tokyo National Museum (opens in new tab); embroidered jacket by Dries van Noten, courtesy: Style.com (opens in new tab); Scroll with flowers and poems (circa 1600-1630) by Tawaraya Sotatsu and Hon'ami Koetsu, courtesy: Corbis Images (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: GEORGE HARVEY)
Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.