Designer Diary: Tadashi Shoji

Liz Doupnik

ts sketch 12 Designer Diary: Tadashi Shoji

It’s easy to have the misconception that the collections seen on the runway materialize out of thin air. Blood, sweat and most definitely tears go into every show, and with that in mind, we asked some of the most prominent and influential designers and stylists — both established and emerging — to share a day in their lives (in their own words) as they prepare for New York Fashion Week.

His dresses often grace red carpets and celebs, but this season Tadashi Shoji seemed to have a somewhat younger girl in mind. We just about had to physically restrain ourselves as adorable 1960s inspired dresses with sheer inlets and sharp collars pranced down the runway. Steering clear of any overly literal interpretations, the collection was speckled with details  of West Coast casual from long dresses in scarf prints and sheer layers for full-skirted gowns. We got to catch up with Shoji to learn about his inspiration for the collection.

StyleCaster: How did this collection begin? What were some of the key influences for you as you approached it?

I noticed a beautiful rug in one of my favorite home stores and was instantly inspired.  I sought out fabrics that emulated the rug and from there my inspiration flourished to the Modern Silk Road.  I travelled virtually along the Silk Road until I went to visit Dunhuang this summer and couldn’t wait to bring the collection to life.

What kind of person inspires you?

A virtual traveler, worldly and cosmopolitan.

Do you approach the beginning of every season the same way? Why and how so?

My inspiration typically comes from my travels, art and nature.  I try to immerse myself in these worlds as much as possible so that I can draw from these life experiences.

Is there any celeb you would love to dress?

I would have loved to dress two different kinds of classic icons such as Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich.  They are the epitome of class and grace.

How do you stay calm in the midst of New York Fashion Week craziness? Any tricks of the trade?

As much sleep as possible, green tea and having an amazing team behind me with the same goal in mind.

What are your biggest challenges season to season? What are the best parts?

Some of the biggest challenges are meeting the deadlines.  I am inclined to procrastinate because I do my best work under pressure, however from my experience I have learned that to be organized and prepared works best.  The best parts are when the models parade out for their runway show finale walks (pure relief!).