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Japanese Designer Turns Heads (April 27, 2006)

A hat for women (misaharada london)
When it comes to the design of high-fashion hats, few names are better known these days than Misa Harada. In the last few years, the Japanese designer has supplied hats to royalty and some of the world's best-known celebrities, establishing herself as the milliner to the rich and famous.

Royal Pedigree
Harada launched her career in London. She managed the difficult feat of being admitted to the prestigious and exclusive Royal College of Art in London. After finishing her studies, she worked as a designer for Frederick Fox, milliner to Queen Elizabeth and other members of Britain's royal family. After four years with the company, in 1998 Harada struck out on her own with an original brand called Misaharada, based in London.

A flower-accented hat for women (misaharada london)

In launching her business, she set herself what seems like a daunting goal for a Japanese designer: for her haute couture hats to be recognized by the conservative British millinery industry, which boasts a long history and is steeped in tradition. Yet she managed to earn that recognition, thanks in part to the American pop superstar Janet Jackson, who wore Harada originals in her music videos. 

Harada's designs quickly grabbed attention from the rich and famous throughout the world. When Queen Elizabeth celebrated her golden jubilee in 2002, she chose a hat by Harada. And Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston asked the Japanese designer to create a veil for their wedding ceremony.

Many TV viewers, meanwhile, became familiar with Harada's designs, as they frequently appeared on the popular US series Sex and the City. By the time her hats were spotlighted in some of the world's top fashion magazines, Harada was basking in the world's limelight.

A spangled hat for men (misaharada london)

Art for the Head
In Japan, meanwhile, her business has largely developed around her lineup for men, announced in 2005 and called Him Misaharada. The Japanese media showered her with acclaim, declaring that she has added a new dimension to British millinery with its long traditions.

Her designs, many of which are asymmetrical, are like art. They are highly innovative, making use of distinctive accessories and enhancing the chic silhouettes of their wearers. In describing her hats, fashion commentators have often used the adjectives "funky," "contemporary," "sharp," and "elegant."

A cool-looking hat for men (misaharada london)

Harada sees her hats as "sculptures" that are an essential part of a well-dressed person's outfit. "If we talk about European haute-couture millinery, then we are talking about putting a sculpture on a person's head," she says in a message on the Internet. "It's the final form that completes the silhouette of a set of clothes, and so the work of an haute-couture hat designer is to create forms that beautifully show off the characteristics of the person's face."

Harada has been inspired by a wide range of influences, from age-old techniques to modern music, such as jazz and hip-hop. Her dream, she says on the Internet, is "to make the Harada name known by everyone in millinery world." Less than ten years since she set up her own business, it seems she is already well on the way to achieving that goal.

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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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