Fashion, perfume and keiseki…

Fashion and Perfume is a pool of inspiration for creating anything from new dishes and new restaurant concepts. It is the spirit, the atmosphere, the uniqueness, the beauty, the idea, the romance the fluidity the enigma, the moment , the statement, the attitude, the courage, the future, the art that can be captured in such a way that it is purely stunning and timeless and endlessly inspiring.

It is not about the material thing itself that fascinates me, it is the essence of something, the symphony of composition that embodies a spirit and captured timelessly and perfectly.

I noted a video below from Diana Vreeland as fashion is mistakenly perceived to be superficial and celebrating perfection however the imperfection is something far more fascinating and beautiful! It is something that is within and she is a very good example of this:

The beauty of all is when someone sees something and makes the rest of the world see it to, irregardless of any aesthetic expectation or preconceived ideas as to what  beauty, art, fashion, thought, spirit, architecture,  etc etc. aught to be.

Fashion is a good way to learn how history, associations, the observation of culture, art the world is constantly transforming and expressing new ideas.

Fashion is a beautiful art of were so many things are stimulated from the senses of smell, the eyes literally feel pleasure, the textures, the sense of how the clothes can alter your feelings and posture almost creating a expansion of a higher self, the manner that it can change, the ideas the inspiration the imagination all can be stimulated to.

The only taste and smell of fashion I recall is perfume which again can be all of the above.

Perfume can be a textural dimension on the nose as well as a taste dimension that stimulates the imagination as well. The more you become sensitive to the concept of perfume all things in life and on this planet can be perceived as perfumes.  The dimensions of endless perfumes. Perfume of the earth the perfume of the moonlight etc etc.

Guerlain- Bois d’Armenie ( L’Art et la Matiere)
Bois d’Armenie from Guerlain’s L’Art et la Matiere series is forever linked in my mind and heart to Japanese woman in the heian perioud kyoto. .It was inspired by Papier d’Armenie, burning paper that produces an insence-like scent used as an air-freshener. I obviously see the connection to Kōdō (香道, “Way of Incense”) is the Japanese art of appreciating incense, and involves using incense within a structure of codified conduct. Kōdō includes all aspects of the incense process, from the tools (香道具 kōdōgu) – which, much like tools of the tea ceremony, are valued as high art – to activities such the incense-comparing games kumikō (組香) and genjikō (源氏香). Kōdō is counted as one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement (kadō, or ikebana for flower arrangement, kōdō for incense, and chadō for tea and the tea ceremony), but it is relatively unknown among modern Japanese people. This perfume from Guerlain posses an almost unearthly spiritual quality while still being very Guerlain: the way it uses iris to lead into a sweet base is familiar Incense is not a recurring Guerlain theme. That makes Bois d’Armenie even more unique and interesting. It swirls in the air, offering more sweetness and powder than most incense fragrances, while playing with warm and cold notes. A chilly breeze brought by iris, a burning bush, the sweetness of benzoin, the sharp and crunchy twigs and branches bearing balsam. It’s all rounded nicely by a mellow and dusty patchouli note that even patchouli haters might find agreeable. Bois d’Armenie is here to seduce, to draw you into its inner circle and dance for you. Notes: pink pepper, iris, rose, coriander, benzoin, Indonesian patchouli, incense, precious woods, musk and balsams.

A dessert by Mugariz edible incense
Emperor (then Crown Prince) Akihito and Empress Michiko at their wedding in 1959. The clothes worn are based on the heian period. There are even more layers of silks that can be worn. I could write a whole essay on each detail of the heian period however this is just a glimpse of the level of articulation of everything about this era.

The reason I am writing about this is that I wanted to try to express a little how I resonate and re-associate over and over in many different ways and with with Japans historical Heian period and there sense of aesthetics that was expressed on a very refinement of layers upon layers of creative and cultural expressions and practices with anything that seems to strike a cord with my imagination in the here and now.

Due to growing up close to the Mifune Restaurant family when I was very small I have a pool of internal natural references from  Kyoto japan and culture that influence my way of perceiving everything and influencing my work. You cant always see that but there is usually a creative net/structure that threads the historic japan with what ever in a new way. My aim is always to focus on the essence rather then the form itself. The form is suposed to be the container of something, nothing else. If the form does not transcend the imagination then you need to keep working at it until it does.

The Heian period (平安時代 Heian jidai?) is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after the capital city of Heian-kyō, or modern Kyōto. It is the period in Japanese history when BuddhismTaoism and other Chinese influences were at their height. The Heian period is also considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art, especially poetry and literature. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the real power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, a powerful aristocratic family who had intermarried with the imperial family. Many emperors actually had mothers from the Fujiwara family. Heian (平安?) means “peace and tranquility” in Japanese.

The Tale of Genji (源氏物語 Genji Monogatari?) is a classic work of Japanese literature written by the Japanese noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibuin the early years of the 11th century, around the peak of the Heian period. It is sometimes called the world’s first novel, the first modern novel, the first psychological novel or the first novel still to be considered a classic. Notably, the novel also illustrates a unique depiction of the livelihoods of high courtiers during the Heian period.

During the Heian period, beauty was widely considered an important part of what made one a “good” person. In cosmetic terms, aristocratic men and women powdered their faces and blackened their teeth, the latter termed ohaguro. The male courtly ideal included a faint moustache and thin goatee, while women’s mouths were painted small and red, and their eyebrows were plucked or shaved and redrawn higher on the forehead.

Women cultivated shiny, black flowing hair and a courtly woman’s formal dress included a complex “twelve-layered robe” called jūnihitoe, though the actual number of layers varied. Costumes were determined by office and season, with a women’s robes in particular following a system of color combinations representing flowers, plants, and animals specific to a season or month.

This is one of the most culturally rich periods and general the heian period was a time of all the arts fluorescing and executed to its fines including of course banqueting. The kyoto kaiseki.

The traditional sequencing and sense of appreciation the setting and the fragrances of such a banquet is incredibly refined. I feel the concept of Keiseki is something almost impossible to perform outside of kyoto as it is so close to the nature, season and climat and of course the skill required.

We can only homage this unique scenario. However just to note that anything that is not fully felt and lived from within is lifeless and really meaningless. I am not a fan of cultural recreations. Like a reproduction of a gaisha dance or stiff ceremony. It has to be somehow real from the soul.

Japanese kyoto cuisine uses many different special vesels according to season and occasion. That alone is an appreciation concept that goes far beyond the ordinary perceptive level of westerners purely as we have nothing like this. There are a combination of things that stimulate the essence  and dimension of kyoto kaiseki for example traditional concepts of beauty and aesthetics, culture, the unique nature of kyoto and buddhist ritual in a nutshell.

There are associations and parallels that are being played with that are very alien for many people inorder to really get to the deepest level of appreciation.

After all this experience was not created to associate to the masses and was a very unique occasion practiced by aristocrats.

Real kaiseki is a very exclusieve experience and very rare to find performed to its highest level even in kyoto. You would have to be invited by someone who is already associated with the chef or establishment. It would not be a restaurant that is open for anyone.

Never the less it is impossible not to resource inspiration from something so incredibly beautiful.

My point really is the totality of something, the setting the atmosphere the occasion the spirit the moment in its entirety stimulating mind, hart, soul and every other sense is something very fascinating to me and researching the many ways of doing so.

Please excuse my limited writing skills I am completely dyslexic to, however I just want to try to express my ideas somehow and due to not having a kitchen I am using my blog to express my passion about life and my work…..

To be continued…………