SS18 Memories of Gion

A trip to Japan was the starting point for Racil’s SS18 collection, the name, Memories of Gion, derived from the Geisha district in Kyoto.


The designer’s journey across Japan is illustrated in two stories. The first part of the collection is inspired by the bold dynamism of Tokyo, or ‘New Japan’ and the works of Yayoi Kusama which led to the use of a bold colour palette of red, black, electric blue and a playful blown-up polka dot print. In contrast, the second half of the collection is much more soothing and influenced by the traditional craft and heritage of Kyoto. An old Japanese postcard dictated the choice of colour- jade and peach mix with two prints that the designer developed from ancient motifs found on Japanese stationary.  The floral and the fan adorned with cranes prints, add a fresh element to the collection.

‘I fell in love with Japan and the contrast between old and new. Every piece in the collection has been named after an element or a character from the book ‘Memoirs of a Geisha, which I read on the trip. ‘

In this collection, the brand’s signature tuxedo is available in several iterations such as the dramatic Kyoto Jacket, restructured with kimono sleeves and lined with contrasting sunflower print. Other jackets have been updated with decorative lapel trims, founded on a vintage Japanese weave print. Co-ordinating high-waist wide-leg pants are exaggerated, playing with the idea of volume and silhouette. New pieces include the 100% silk Hatsumomo dress, inspired by the wrapping technique of a kimono; the Geisha dress, a floor-length wrap dress with ruffled hem and two kimono shapes – the long Mameha and the short Sayuri. Double-sided obi belts have been designed to create definition and contrast.


Time spent with a real Geisha and a traditional kimono dresser heightened the designer’s understanding of their lives and the Kimono- which she has adapted for the modern RACIL woman.

 ‘I have always been fascinated with kimonos. They tell stories about people’s lives and the women who wore them. It would be impossible for us to wear a traditional kimono today, so it’s about taking inspiration from it and translating it into modern day living.’

 As with each collection, everything can be worn together, mixed and matched or in this case layered with ease. Subtle details such as decorative buttons, one series depicting a Japanese village and the other, a flower, add the finishing touch.

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