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Josephine Tan has been a treasured member of the Shifting Worlds community since the store opened. She has a love of Pleats Please and Bao Bao by Issey Miyake for to their sculptural elements and artful colour. During visits to the store, Josephine would passionately refer to her Ikebana practice, the traditional art of flower arrangement in the Japanese way. She is the President of The Ohara School of Ikebana, Melbourne Chapter. In November last year we asked Josephine to lead an introductory class for our Sunday Shifts programme where she showed us how to create a simple composition with flora and object. Below we revisit some photographs from the day and speak more to Josephine about her love of nature and personal style.

When did your exploration of traditional Japanese Ikebana begin?

My journey began in the winter of 2018 when I attended an ikebana exhibition at the Sofitel Hotel, Collins St. Showcasing some of the best work of floral arrangement from various schools of ikebana. It was like a whirlwind affair with nature that enveloped my life for many months. I completed a course in one year which would normally take someone three years to complete, squeezing in classes whenever and wherever possible as my sensei was going back to Japan in the following year. My passion was so evident that the baton to take over as president of the (Ohara School of Ikebana) Melbourne Chapter was passed on from her to me.

What is your favourite flower to work with?

As every season presents different flowers, it is hard to pick a favourite but I would say that I love using colour and therefore Iove Delphiniums and usually arrange them in upright styles.. 

What have you been inspired by recently?

Ikebana has opened up my eyes to a world of so many different plants and foliage that may be considered weeds by some - but used appropriately can make an arrangement so amazing. I am always inspired by nature and the seasons and I agree with Albert Camus when he said “Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower”. We know that you love Pleats Please, how would you describe your personal style? It has been more than ten years since I changed my wardrobe dramatically to a style that can be casual, semi-formal or formal depending on how you wear it. As office wear was no longer defined by jackets and collared shirts. My obsession with Issey Miyake Pleats Please has been well documented, my wardrobe is made up of endless pleats with colours ranging from bright orange to purple and outrageous pink. Pleats are minimal and chic, every season’s colours are amazing so I can add pieces easily to match my current wardrobe. My daughters raid my wardrobe occasionally until the build their own collection. I wonder how many kids today would wear their mum's clothes, it's very flattering. I get a lot of compliments on my Bao Bao especially from men as they seem to like the structure of these iconic bags, which are weatherproof and versatile. 


Josephine describes the satisfaction of adding in seasonal pieces from Pleats Please to your existing wardrobe as they are often complementary. Jo selected the following pieces which she would interchange between casual and formal wear. Her picks are the Pleats Please by Issey Miyake Two Tone Jacket in Indigo, New Colourful Basics Scarf in Blue, Tie Front Pant in Lilac and Bao Bao by Issey Miyake Lucent At Random Tote Bag in Navy Mix. She also includes her dream vase by Claudia Lau which is an in-store exclusive titled Glory Hole.


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