Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Prof. Beverly Allen
Visual and Performing Arts
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Art and Design | Fashion Design
The objective is to visually represent Japanese ghost stories, known as kaidan, not only as a supplement to the senior fashion design thesis but also as a way to explore the more general human themes of love, loss, and betrayal.
As a fashion design major, it is required to complete in full a six-piece womenswear collection to be shown at a university-wide fashion show in April of senior year. Each individual designer decides on an appropriate theme for his or her collection; this theme is finalised during the fall of senior year, with garment construction beginning immediately afterward. Additionally, each senior designer is responsible for any accessories or other runway styling required for his or her final collection.
For this Capstone Project, an extension has been made to the fashion collection Kaidan, which is inspired by Japanese ghost stories and woodblock prints. Within the collection, silhouettes are extremely sculptural and largely asymmetrical, keeping in mind the Japanese idea of wabi-sabi – an aesthetic distinctive to the Japanese culture, one that treasures asymmetry and imperfection and hints constantly at the natural progression of time.
The Capstone is made of two parts: first, accessories have been designed and produced for the collection and consist of shoes, bracelets, and chunky, oversized hand-knit cowl scarves. For the second part, a photo book has been created, not only to catalogue the collection’s accessories but also to serve as a means of exploring the emotions behind the abandoned women of Japanese ghost stories. To set the tone of the photo book, poems from Edo-period Japanese women writers have been included.
The book is intended to give a human face to the women ghosts of Japanese kaidan, in order to better understand them and see them as more than just the demons of Japanese kabuki and horror films that they have become. It remembers these women ghosts and attempts to pay homage to their vulnerability as abandoned women.
Hennessey, Gabrielle, "Kaidan: Fashion And Photographs Inspired By Japanese Ghost Stories" (2009). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 419.
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