Twig & Waisted Creations Geisha London Photoshoot


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I was hired by Waisted Creations to shoot Twig as a Japanese Goddess. This shoot was planned for a long time and involved a lot of different elements as we tried to make it as authentic as possible in the traditional Geisha style, not yet knowing if we had the set or weather to fulfil out original goddess vision.  Turns out, we didn’t get the rolling mountains and stormy clouds we wished for, and instead had 30C degree blasting sunshine and found a wonderful spot to shoot in instead. I had the delightful Charlotte from RavenBlakh Photography assisting me on the shoot – first time I have ever had an assistant and she was really good at her job! 😉 It was great to have some help and someone who knows the area too – but really weird being the only northerner in a group of Londoners!

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The Kimono is a genuine vintage found on eBay, the corset itself is made to resemble an Obi, the belt which is wrapped around the Kimono to hold it shut. There are many types of obi, most for women: wide obis made of brocade and narrower, simpler obis for everyday wear. The fanciest and most colourful obis are for young unmarried women. The contemporary women’s obi is a very conspicuous accessory, sometimes even more so than the kimono robe itself. A fine formal obi might cost more than the rest of the entire outfit.

Some Obi info:

The wide women’s obi is folded in two when worn, to a width of about 15 centimetres (5.9 in) to 20 centimetres (7.9 in). It is considered elegant to tie the obi so that the folded width is in harmony with the wearer’s body dimensions. Usually this means about a tenth of her height. The full width of the obi is present only in the decorative knot, musubi.

A woman’s obi is worn in a fancy musubi knot. There are ten ways to tie an obi, and different knots are suited to different occasions and different kimonos.

There are many different types of women’s obi, and the usage of them is regulated by many unwritten rules not unlike those that concern the kimono itself. Certain types of obi are used with certain types of kimono; the obis of married and unmarried women are tied in different ways. Often the obi adjusts the formality and fanciness of the whole kimono outfit: the same kimono can be worn in very different situations depending on what kind of obi is worn with it. (unfortunately, I did not know how to properly tie the knot at the back of the obi for the photo shoot, however a buyer would easily be able to learn. There is also the option not to have the train to tie at the back for a lesser charge.)

Geisha always wear kimono. Apprentice geisha wear highly colourful kimono with extravagant obi. The obi is brighter than the kimono she is wearing to give a certain exotic balance. Older geisha of Kyoto wear more subdued patterns and styles. The colour, pattern, and style of kimono is dependent on the season and the event the geisha is attending. In winter, geisha can be seen wearing a three-quarter length haori lined with hand-painted silk over their kimono. Lined kimono are worn during colder seasons, and unlined kimono during the summer. A kimono can take from two to three years to complete, due to painting and embroidering.

A maiko wears red with white printed patterns. The junior maiko’s collar is predominantly red with white, silver, or gold embroidery. Two to three years into her apprenticeship, the red collar will be entirely embroidered in white (when viewed from the front) to show her seniority. At around age 20, her collar will turn from red to white.

Waisted Creations worked meticulously on this piece to get it to work in a functional way for the everyday wearer but also to appease to the orthodox in Japanese culture. Hopefully the western audience which has fallen in love with the Far East will also find a great satisfaction with this fashion corset.

It was very important to me to use an Asian model for this photo shoot and suggested Twig to Waisted Creations, which was great when we managed to fix something together as Twig is such a professional lady and knows her job well!

Due to the intense overhead sunlight, Charlotte used a reflector to light up Twig’s face, and in the image to right, also poured flower petals. We later realised that the flower Twig is holding is the same flower on the corset print, which worked amazingly for the collaboration between the print and season.

The corset is for sale here: and you can choose your own fabric prints.

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Kanzashi are hair ornaments used in traditional Japanese hairstyles. Some believe they may also have been used for defence in an emergency.

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In the English-speaking world, the term “kanzashi” is sometimes applied to the folded cloth flowers that traditionally adorned tsumami kanzashi, or to the technique used to make those flowers.

I commissioned K20’s Little Shoebox of Horrors (can be found on Etsy and Facebook) for some Kanzashi last year, in a photo for trade basis and I couldn’t be happier with them! They were made with my colours and moon designs but when it came to construction around the same time as the photo shoot, the colours worked very well by coincidence. They are a very easy hair piece to put in and the designer has a very close working relationship with her clients to ensure everything is how you want them.

We enjoyed tea and cake in a fancy tea shop after and a pub lunch! Haha

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