Interview & Report

Yuni Yoshida / Art & Creative Director

Yuni Yoshida / Art & Creative Director

MBFWT 2013 S/S & 2013 A/W Key Visual Creator

Born in Tokyo in 1980. After graduating from Joshibi University of Art and Design. Yuni YOSHIDA joined Onuki DESIGN. In 2006 she joined Uchu Country as art director. She started freelancing in the following year. Since then she has been working on a wide range of jobs including advertising, product design, CD jacket design, and book design. Her recent major works include Laforet Harajuku, promotional visuals for the performance “The Bee” featuring Hideki Noda, and the station ID for Space Shower TV featuring Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

Yuni Yoshida once again handled the design direction of the key visual for 2013-14 A/W Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO, following on with the successful 2013 S/S visual of models on massive billboards in the streets of Tokyo. Succeeding the style of last season’s image, the new visual shows, in a unique style, powerful women in the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class driving up a condominium wall, and is sure to bring a fresh surprise to the city of Tokyo. We interviewed the emerging creator, who has handled a wide variety of projects in the fashion field from advertising for Laforet Harajuku to the creative direction of fashion shows.

What is the concept of the key visual for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO 2013-14 A/W?

Relating to the previous visual, I applied a gravity-manipulating 3D approach to express the strong power of the image as if it were jumping right out. A new element this time is the inclusion of a car. A plain visual of a car and female models could make it look like a car ad rather than an ad for the fashion week. I was careful about how the car was presented, and that is how I came up with the image of a car driving up a building wall in full thrust. There have not been too many visuals that show a car in a vertical position. Also, since the A-Class, featured in this image, has the image of a cool car for women, it seemed like the perfect car to represent the fashion week in Tokyo through the image of women enjoying fashion with power.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO 2013-14 A/W Key Visual

STYLIST:Kyoko Fushimi
HAIR & MAKE-UP ARTIST:Katsuya Kamo (mod’s hair)
MODELS:Kadri (DONNA) / Destiny (ZUCCA) / Martyna (BRAVO MODELS)

“Power of fashion” was also an element in the previous key visual.

I wanted to bring more energy to the fashion week in Tokyo. The visual expressed an outpouring of strong power to tell people in and outside Japan how fascinating Japanese fashion is. The last visual looked as if the models were jumping out of the billboards, in order to express the sense of power. Just as in the last visual, I created the new one to have a quality that presented itself with confidence in front of the critical eyes of people overseas. At the same time, I wanted the image to be something that visitors of the fashion week would embrace when they see it at Shibuya Hikarie, the new main venue of the fashion week.

The gravity-defying, magical 3D look delivers a strong impact. How did you shoot the image?

Last time, I set up a billboard background flat on the floor, had the models lie on it, and photographed the scene from directly above. The technique used this time is the same. I placed an image of a building wall on the floor, placed a car on it, and took the photo from diagonally above.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week TOKYO 2013 S/S Key Visual

STYLIST:Toshio Takeda (MILD)
HAIR & MAKE-UP ARTIST:Katsuya Kamo (mod’s hair)

All dresses: et momonakia(Mercedes-Benz Presents designer)

You prepare the scene in very fine detail each time.

That’s right. I first draw a rough sketch and communicate it with the art team before developing a photo shoot set. This time, since I wanted to be precise about the positioning of the car’s tires in relation to the windows on the wall, I asked the art team to get their relative scales right and provide fine details to ensure that the set looked like a real building wall when photographed. Putting together a real set lets you discover new faces and extend your image, which you would not have been able to do from post-processing in CG. Finished images also convey a sense of strength and warmth. It is not an easy task. I sometimes feel like I am putting myself through excessive trouble (laughs). Still, at the end of the day, I really want a quality finish.

Do you have a clear vision as to how your image should look from the start?

I already have a very clear vision when drawing a rough sketch. However, it is only a base vision. A collection of inputs from photographers, stylists, hairdressers and art staff in the actual photo shoot takes my vision to a new level. I get such joy when my original vision transcends the bounds of my imagination.

How do you feel about having handled the visuals for the fashion week for two consecutive seasons?

It was very interesting in that this has a broader range of targets compared to creating an advertisement for a single brand. Since I was able to do both S/S and A/W seasons, I liked having been able to visualize the full-year communication, adjusting situations and color tones according to seasons.

You have also produced fashion shows in recent years.

When producing a fashion show, I explore how to entertain the audience at the show, and see how much communication I can convey in a live, one-off setting. You can feel the reaction of the audience straight away. It is fascinating, totally different from graphic design work.

What kind of fashion do you like?

I like fashion items that are not just cute but also have a cool edge. In fashion and many other fields, I am inclined toward something cool, rather than something sweet or pop.

When did you start thinking about becoming a graphic designer?

I had been somewhat interested since I was at elementary school. In fact, I said in the elementary school yearbook that my dream was to become a designer. I don’t think I quite understood what “designer” was, but in those days, I was a member of the school’s handicraft club and was really into using an electric saw (laughs). My play time always started from making the toy I was to play with. When playing house, I made food out of Origami paper. When pretending to be a dentist, I put together fake teeth and dental record cards myself. I just loved using my hands to create things, and always knew that, when I grew up, I would be working for a job that involved creating.

Your work often has the element of trick art. Have you always been interested in it?

I guess I have. I also used to love looking through a microscope. I was fascinated by things that exist but cannot be easily seen with the naked eye. Illustrated reference books also intrigued me, as I love taking something real and letting my imagination run wild with it. When I produce something, I am not trying to do something particularly intricate so that others take notice. I want people to think, “Wait, something is different” and become inspired. For advertising, it is important to draw people’s attention. That is why I produce something with an immediate visual hook for attention. Yet, I also want it to inspire people to take another closer look.

For you, what is the fundamental charm of designing?

My happiest moment is when people are appreciating my creation without me knowing about it and when I hear their feedback. It is of course important for my work to promote merchandise, but I sincerely hope that what I create inspires people or makes them a little happier. Design is only worth something if there are people to see it. I want to continue creating something that communicates with and reaches out to as many people as possible.

Finally, what is the next project you want to work on?

A lot of my work now is targeted at women. I would love to start creating for a broader range of people whatever gender or age. I also hope to be blessed with opportunities for working on overseas projects. Producing the visual for the fashion week this time has presented many chances of showing my work to people overseas. I hope this turns into a great opportunity for the future.

INTERVIEW by Yuki Harada

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