Princess Raccoon

Japan 2005

Introduced by Jane Tynan.

Seijun Suzuki made a name for himself in the 1960s with his fast-moving gangster films, which increasingly became exercises in delirious action and colourful mise en scène. In this, his last film, he presents an unhinged fantasy in which elaborate costumes mark different levels of reality. Sachiko Itô’s dazzling costumes share the same radical mix of traditional, pop and outright surreal influences evident in the film’s plot, choreography, lighting and set design, all bathed in Suzuki’s unique spectrum of colour. They open a realm of mythology, between human and animal – a space of spectacle and confusion between two-dimensional ink painting, three-dimensional theatre and a fourth dimension of metamorphosis. In a film composed of such a synthetic (un)reality, the colours and textures of the costumes provide not only a glittering spectacle, but also an anchor for Suzuki’s unique visual style.

Japan 2005. Dir. Seijun Suzuki. With Zhang Ziyi, Joe Odagiri, Hiroko Yakushimaru. Costumes Sachiko Itô.

Jane Tynan leads the MA Fashion Critical Studies at Central Saint Martins.  She has published on aspects of art, design, fashion and the body in books and journals including Thinking Through Fashion (2015) and Journal of Design History.