by Regina Connell.
Scarves are funny things. You like the pattern or the weave. You buy one. You put one on, but for the most part, the detail you fell in love with is hidden. So you can experiment a little, maybe allow yourself to bring out your inner badass or romantic or geek; and you only expose those details if you choose. It’s like high-end lingerie or underwear that way: something that’s worn mostly for you, and anyone you decide to let in on the secret. Scarves, of course, have the added benefit of keeping you warm without any further intervention.
Which is why we were so drawn to the scarves we saw at Mr. Porter (and sister site, Net-a-Porter) based on the designs of Japanese Irezumi tattoo master, Horiyoshi III. (You will want to visit the site.)
Horiyoshi III, Nakano Yoshihito is the master of tattoo in a country that’s considered the capital of the art form. (The irony: in Japan, the art form is so strongly associated with the yakuza that tattoo wearers are usually banned from public bathhouses and hot springs – and from public office in Osaka.) He’s tattooed stars in film and music (though presumably not too many Japanese ones). He’s founded a Tattoo Museum in Yokohama. And in 2010, he founded a clothing line of Ts, denim and accessories for men and women.
These scarves, made in Japan out of silk and cashmere, are all limited editions, and feature beautifully rendered tigers, skulls, phoenixes and more. Wrapped or draped, they’re subtly graphic. Opened up, they’re nothing short of art.
Despite the fact that tattoos have inspired fashion and art for decades (hello Ed Hardy and Alexander McQueen) and that they’re ubiquitous at my Financial District gym, they’re still a little culturally polarizing, what with their association with criminals and motorcycle gangs (all that great ink on Sons of Anarchy).
Whether you call it the subversion of art, or the art of subversion, these scarves are gorgeous. And you only need to share the details if you want.