Maiko Takeda:  dematerialising fashion

Japan Fashion and Lifestyle Foundation

Ethereal and otherworldly body adornments that dissolve the boundaries between fashion, millinery and jewellery

Maiko Takeda
Maiko Takeda's creations evoke both awe and intrigue. She transforms tangible and mundane materials into surreal and ethereal experiences, for the wearer and the surrounding environment. The milliner and accessory designer was born in Tokyo in 1986, and moved to London at the age of 18 to pursue her love for art and design. In 2009 she completed her studies in BA Jewellery Design (Hons) at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Her fascination for creating objects for the head led her to study further in MA Fashion Womenswear (specialism: Millinery) at the city's Royal College of Art, from which she graduated in 2013.

Atmospheric Reentry

Ⅸ (excerpt)
Directed by George Tsioutsias
Art Directed by Marlon Rueberg
© Royal College of Art

Atmospheric Reentry: “What does it feel like to wear a cloud?"
This was the question that Takeda set out to answer with her Atmospheric Reentry collection. The range of sculptural, spiny pieces was influenced by the androgyny and repetition in Philip Glass and Robert Wilson's opera Einstein on the Beach, which she saw in London in 2012. The project first manifested during her post-graduate studies, and continues to be developed through refining the techniques used to produce such unique designs.

Idea development

“Through the experiment process, I developed the technique to create a visual effect of intangible aura. I wanted to keep something tactile and analog about the pieces, and didn’t want to use LED lights or anything with a motor or battery. The effect is that they somehow look digital, but the point was to make them from everyday low-tech materials.”

Materials and techniques

In initial experiments, layers of clear film were attached to paper printed with blue circles of different sizes. Laid flat, the patterns looked 2D, but spherical forms appeared when the spikes were pushed vertical.

Materials and techniques

Takeda then tried a range of techniques to attach tinted clear spines to different materials.

Materials and techniques

Eventually, she settled on transparent plastic spikes tinted with colour gradients at the tips. These are held in place between sections of acrylic joined by small silver rings.

Materials and techniques

“First I prepare hundreds of clear films with gradients of translucent colours printed on them. Then the cross shapes with divided, pointy ends are cut out. One by one, these are folded by 90 degrees upwards by hand."

Construction method

“Each of these pieces is sandwiched with square acrylic discs and linked together with rhodium-plated tiny metal rings. Finally these units are linked to create a surface to fit the silhouette of the body.”


"As the whole structure remains flexible it has a fluid movement echoing the movement of the wearer.

“Also what I like about this chainmail-like structure is that it can be turned inside out like a hedgehog. When inverted it looks like a crystal in a rock.

“The making process is extremely labour intensive yet quite repetitive and logical, which I find therapeutic and fun.”

Icelandic musician Björk collaborated with Takeda to create costumes for her 2013 Biophilia tour and 2015 Vulnicura album cover. The singer also wore the designs in her music video for lionsong.

lionsong, 2015

Björk's music video featuring Takeda's Atmospheric Reentry designs
Video by Inez and Vinoodh

As Takeda continues to develop the Atmospheric Reentry collection, iterations have included masks with glow-in-the-dark bristles. Ever growing and evolving, the series still has more designs still to come.

POSTatmos, 2014

Film created in collaboration with POSTmatter
Creative Director : Remi Paringaux

Cinematography: a fascination with the body 
Takeda’s earlier experiments with body adornments resulted in the Cinematography collection. This playful series was born while she was studying at Central Saint Martins, and features perforated metal designs that cast exquisite shadow upon the wearer and their immediate surroundings.

Cinematography, 2009-10

Each of the metal pieces in the collection is punctured with patterns made from tiny holes. When light shines through the designs, they produce shadows of flowers, animals and facial features.

Initial experiments

Takeda used photography, negatives and quick material tests to begin to form the imagery she desired.


“I did many tests with different motifs, such as cats, dogs, lilies, roses and eyes, but always ended up choosing the ones that had a seductive element to them. So I picked cats rather than dogs, and roses rather than lilies."


Holes are drilled into sheets of metal. The perforations vary in size to create intricate images, which help to blur the shadows when illuminated.


Surfaces are then sanded for a smooth and matt finish.

Final results

Takeda’s unique designs are simultaneously delicate and powerful, imbuing both wearer and viewer with otherworldly enchantment.

Maiko Takeda: an emerging talent
Takeda's work is not only immediately spellbinding, but its intricacy, subtleties and playfulness leave a lasting impression. The collections shown here form just the start of her career, offering a glimpse of the magic that is surely still to come. As Takeda continues to develop as a designer, her pieces will no doubt become more thoughtful and provocative, so future collections will also be guaranteed to enchant.
Credits: Story

Designer: Maiko Takeda
Curator: Dan Howarth
Coordination: GAS AS INTERFACE Co., Ltd.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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