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Tadashi Shoji mixes art with couture

MANILA, Philippines - Beyonce likes him. And so do Helen Mirren, Deborah Messing and Queen Latifah.

We’re talking about Tadashi Shoji, whose fall/winter 2011 collection draws inspiration from the ancient gardens of the Far East.

“The art of birds dancing in rhythmic harmony, branches and moss intertwining, and light and shadows reflected in water — all these works of nature together emote a spiritual transcendence, balance, and tranquility that I hope are translated with the collection I present on the runway this season,” says the artist-turned-designer.

Born in Sendai, Japan, Tadashi studied fine arts in Tokyo. His talent was soon recognized and he was recommended for an apprenticeship with Japan’s leading contemporary artist, Jiro Takamatsu, who is credited with paving the way for the modern art movement in Japan during the Sixties.

Intrigued with New York City and its role in the contemporary art scene, Tadashi moved to the United States to take further art studies in Los Angeles when he discovered fashion design and awakened a life-long passion.

As a student, Tadashi had the unique opportunity to work with famed costume designer Bill Whitten. In the flamboyant Seventies, every major recording artist was demanding a Whitten original, and Tadashi created designs for A-list stars including Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Neil Diamond, The Jacksons, and Earth, Wind, & Fire.

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After earning his degree in Fashion Design, Tadashi began working at a prominent clothing manufacturer where he climbed the ranks for several years. Troubled by the fact that women had few options for special occasion dresses in the contemporary market, Tadashi identified a niche and set out on his own.

Established in 1982, the Los Angeles-based fashion house Tadashi Shoji sends its collections to more than 4,000 major department and specialty store doors worldwide, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s. Internationally, the brand is available at high-end retailers such as Isetan, Epoca the Shops, and Anniversaire Omotesando.

Tadashi Shoji has two signature boutiques in the United States — one in the prestigious South Coast Plaza and another in Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas.

Tadashi Shoji is exclusively available at Rustan’s Makati and Rustan’s Shangri-La Plaza.

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