Monday, March 26, 2012

Jill Krementz visits Asiatica's Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth Wilson, creator and "editor" of Asiatica, which she founded in 1977. The necklace is $1800.
Asiatica on the East Coast
Monday, March 26th-30th, 2012
The Lombardy Hotel, noon-4pm
No appointment necessary


As Asia Week winds down for Manhattan Galleries, it's only just getting started at the Hotel Lombardy (111 East 56th Street, Open House 12-4 daily.) It is there on the 10th floor (Room 1000) where Asiatica's Elizabeth Wilson is hosting her trunk show of beautiful clothing, scarves and jewelry.

Founded in 1977, Asiatica is based in Kansas City where Ms. Wilson presides over an emporium of Chinese and Japanese antiques as well as a showroom of clothing. The fabrics (vintage and contemporary) are purchased by Wilson on her yearly trip to Japan.

It is in Kansas that the wearable and elegant clothes are designed and brought to life by a staff of ten. For those of us who love great fashion but lack the time and energy required of shopping, much less flying to Kansas City, Wilson packs up all the best stuff and, accompanied by Angela Candela, her patternmaker and fitter, sets up "trunk shows" in various hotel suites around the country. The itinerary includes. San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Sante Fe, and
Washington D.C.


Boston readers of this column can get their fix at The Fairmont Copley Plaza, Monday, April 2nd - Wednesday, April 4th. Open House daily 12-4 daily or call Elizabeth's cell phone for an appointment: 913.269.3269.

As I said, you have one week to get yourself over to The Hotel Lombardy. There's a part of me that thinks I'm nuts to share this fabulous secret.
Angela Candela, patternmaker and fitter at your service. Ms. Candela is a genie with pins and needles so whatever you buy will be fitted perfectly. I have often added pockets, which can be either patch or inserts.

Alterations are not only flawless, they are included in your purchase price.
Jacket in a patchwork of various black and blue vintage Japanese silk ikats. $1895.
A wide variety of linen, silk and cotton and cashmere scarves. $95-$495.
These look like sea creatures, but are actually tie-dyed silk scarves from Kyoto.
The artist's smock in cashmere -- also available in linens for summer. $1295. A zigzag jacket in contemporary Japanese fabric from Nuno. Other colors and shapes available. $1395.
A shirt of modern Japanese striped fabric and some kabuki-pattern vintage silk. $995. Back view of the same shirt.
Elizabeth Wilson wearing one of the "undersea" scarves.

Wilson studied Chinese art history before moving to Kansas City in 1975. On her yearly visit to Japan, she looks at forty to fifty thousand kimonos.

She makes a final selection of a thousand to disassemble and reconfigure into western couture.
Also on sale--lots of great jewelry.
French pewter bracelets. $125-$395. Two silver necklaces. $450 each.
A cardigan jacket in vintage silk damask. $1395.
The patch jacket in a melange of vintage small-patterned natural ikat linens. $1995.
Detail of the handmade patchwork above. The patch pocket.
The bubble jacket in aqua Nuno silk -- other colors and fabrics available. $1395.

This is a new fabric designed by Reiko Sudo, of Nuno. Ms. Sudo's designs were shown at MoMA's recent exhibition of contemporary Japanese textiles.

This is what I purchased to wear to my daughter's upcoming wedding. She's forbidden me to take pictures, but my tiny Canon Elph will be so invisible.
There is a wide variety of colors, textures and styles available.
And there's my jacket again!
Another use of beautiful vintage silk scraps. Made for Asiatica in Kyoto.
Flower pins. $195 each.
A cropped jacket in vintage linen with a wave pattern. $1795. Only one of a variety of pant styles. Almost all with pockets. Shown here, black silk shantung with elasticized waist.
$495-$595.
Asiatica's version of bling. French rhinestones and pewter. $265-$595.
Exclusive scarves of wool and lurex by Hiroko Takeda, a custom weaver from Japan. $395.
More tie-dyed scarves. $295 each.
Small evening bags made from kimono fabrics. $225.
Wendy Gordon sifting through the collection. Ms. Gordon has been a leader in the green consumer movement, having founded Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet. In addition to her environmental work, Gordon is working on a start-up internet fashion project for the fall of 2012. It is
called "DoppelHanger."
Black and white vintage silk ikat in a high-collared jacket, $1895.
Toby Crystal. "I've been buying clothes from Asiatica for at least 20 years because they're unique, they fit so well, and they are timeless."

Ms. Crystal is a chorale singer with the Washington Chorus and The Oratorio Society of New York. She zipped in and out (and bought a great jacket) while her husband, Lester, was double parked downstairs. Mr. Crystal used to be the executive producer of The MacNeil/Lehrer Report when it was an hour broadcast with the two co-anchors.

The scarf has been made by Debra Smith of Asiatica fabric remains. $295.
You will swoon over the palette of colors.
The zigzag jacket in a patchwork of Nuno fabrics. $1995. A beautiful light-weight wool from Nuno used in a nicely shaped jacket. $1395.
The swatches of fabrics available in the event you see a jacket you like and want it made in a different fabric. If they look a bit messy, it's because it's the end of a very busy day.

Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved.