The Edo Collection

Anne Sylvain’s Spring 2016 Collection was inspired by the woodblock prints of Utagawa Hiroshige and the paintings of Isamu Noguchi.

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) was one of the 20th century's most critically acclaimed sculptors. Noguchi was also well known for his furniture and lighting designs. His work is considered "at once subtle and bold, traditional and modern."

Isamu Noguchi, Calfiornia Scenario Sculpture Garden

A few years ago I saw an exhibit of Noguchi’s paintings at the Fry Art Museum in Seattle. The paintings, called Peking Drawings, were created by Noguchi during a 6 month period in 1930 that he spent studying in Beijing with a Chinese master of ink painting named Qi Baishi

Isamu Noguchi, Mother and Child, 1928

I was entranced by their powerful but quiet elegance and began to think about how I might incorporate these concepts - powerful and quiet - into Anne Sylvain’s aesthetic. These paintings inspired Anne Sylvain’s use of black and white leathers in the Spring 2016 Collection, including the black and white diagonally striped Lauren Jumbo Clutch and Vendome Shopper and the Ice Gray Alligator with Black Alligator Trim we used in The Tokyo Wristlet.

The Vendome Shopper, Genuine Whipsnake, Imperial Red Lamb Leather Lining

The woodblock prints of Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) are similarly mesmerizing. Hiroshige was so well regarded that he was an inspiration to many famous painters of the late 19th century, including Vincent Van Gogh and Whistler. As a huge fan of Van Gogh-I even waited in line in Amsterdam's early morning rain to be first inside the Van Gogh Museum that day-I found the images below, comparing Van Gogh's work to Hiroshige particularly interesting. Hiroshige was so appreciated by Frank Lloyd Wright that Wright described Hiroshige’s work as some of "the most valuable contributions ever made to the art of the world.” 

Above: Hiroshige (1st and 3rd prints), Van Gogh (2nd and 4th paintings).

As is the case with Noguchi, Hiroshige was renowned for subtlety. His work portrays the fine nuance of such things as wind and rain, snow on mountain tops and waves in the ocean.

For Anne Sylvain’s Spring Collection, I used tones and patterns in blue leathers that reflect the refined elegance of Hiroshige’s depictions of water and sky. You’ll see this in Anne Sylvain’s Mirror Blue Python and Vintage Navy Alligator. Our White Pearl Ostrich, which we used this season for Anne Sylvain’s Charlotte hobo and The Mini convertible shoulder bag, was inspired by Hiroshige’s radiant moonlight.

Charlotte Hobo, White Pearl Ostrich, Royal Blue Lamb Leather Lining

The Mini Convertible Crossbody, White and Black Pearl Ostrich, Imperial Red Lamb Leather Lining

We call Anne Sylvain’s Spring 2016 Collection the Edo Collection to honor these two artists, both of whom spent early years of their lives living in Tokyo.  “Edo” is the old name for Tokyo and means “the mouth of the bay.

I hope you find inspiration in these extraordinary artists and enjoy Anne Sylvain's link to their remarkable work.

Patricia A. Raskin, Creative Director, ANNE SYLVAIN