Milan Fashion Week AW19 – an interview with Chika Kisada

As a former classical ballet dancer, Chika Kisada cites Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova as the inspiration for her Autumn Winter 2019 collection, presented at the Piazza Duomo. Through her designs she articulates a pursual of ‘the presence and the transient nature of beauty that a human body creates with its motions and movements.’

After winning numerous titles and honours as a dancer, Kisada established REKISAMI in 2007. However, her desire to reflect her ballet experience through design was fully realised with the debut of ‘Chika Kisada’ in 2014, which went on to win the Tokyo Fashion Award 2017.

The namesake womenswear brand conceptualizes ‘the elegance of ballet, the energy of punk’ through contrasting elements of delicacy and verve, always with a sustained awareness of the physicality of the female body. The tulle and tutu-inspired silhouettes exude feminine felicity, intersected with gothic lace, body-chains and studded corsets in an idiosyncratic aesthetic of hard and soft.

The integration of these contrasting elements is appropriate for a modern notion of femininity where grace and sensitivity can coexist with a dynamic rebellious spirit. Embodying the ‘punk-ballet’ theme, the collection features deconstructed silhouettes, ruffles, long pleated skirts and high-necked blouses in nostalgic baby pinks and velvety blacks. Redefining elements of typical dancewear with an urban sensibility, the delicate equilibrium created between the disparate styles reinforces the collection’s unique and emphatic form.

You have said that for every season you establish a story first. What is the story you wish to convey in this collection?

Chika Kisada loves the story of the late nineteenth century Russian ballerina, Anna Pavola.

You were a former professional ballet dancer before turning to fashion. In regards to creative expression, what similarities and differences have you found between dance and design?

I don’t feel that there are any differences. In both, I regard my potential highly and work hard to express it.

You state your brand combines “The elegance of ballet, the energy of punk.” What do you feel is gained by fusing these disparate influences?

I replaced the comparison between elegant and ephemeral woman and the strength in her heart with the words ‘BALLET’ and ‘PUNK’. The concept of Chika Kisada is strong elegance and is constructed by these different elements of BALLET and PUNK.

In 2016 you were awarded the TOKYO FASHION AWARD 2017. How did this help develop your brand?

As a result, I experienced my own runway show in Tokyo for the first time. It was a different form of expression for me, to be able to show not only my clothes, but also the real movement. I felt that I could expand the atmosphere and scope of the brand.  

What does a modern notion of femininity mean to you?

A woman who faces work, life and many things, and is independent and elegant.

Why have you chosen Milan as the fashion capital in which to showcase your brand?

My dream of an overseas runway show came true thanks to CameraModa’s support. I am very happy to show my collection at a historical place in a beautiful country.

All clothes Chika Kisada AW19. All images © Gabija Labutyte


Interview by Eve Upton-Clark / Published 28 February 2019


Published 28 February 2019