Mihara Yasuhiro Paints His Spring Pictures

On-the-rise Japanese designer Mihara Yasuhiro cites Sir John Everett Millais’s 1852 painting Ophelia as the inspiration for his spring/summer 2012 womenswear collection. The painting, now held by the Tate Britain, shows Hamlet’s angelic Ophelia, immersed in a river, singing with her last breaths before drowning. “I was inspired by ‘Ophelia’ because I believe she could narrate the story of how unpredictable life is, how powerful nature can be, and the loss of an innocent soul. Ophelia continues to communicate the female image in my collection, balancing between our perceptions,” says Mihara.

His muse is apparent in the contrasting dark and delicate qualities in his collection, like a strict black leather skirt and jacket softened by tulle, a hard-edged black leather dress finished with a ladylike pleated skirt and a feminine tartan frock nipped with a severe studded belt. But Mihara chose to celebrate his tragic inspiration further via a film collaboration with celebrated photographer Paolo Roversi, who has shot the designer’s campaign for the past three seasons. “Paolo Roversi understands Miharayasuhiro’s world very well. His work is poetic and eternal,” raves the designer.

The resulting film, “Ophelia Has a Dream,” is a soothing, surreal cinematic experience. The picturesque backdrop depicts Millais’s painting to a tee, propelling it into the third dimension via floating flower petals and butterflies, which fly out at the viewer when the film is viewed live. The serene, porcelain model peacefully lies in the river, wearing Mihara’s embellished smoky aubergine kimono, which he chose because its gradation mimics the shadows seen on Ophelia’s dress as it disappears in the murky water in the original painting. And although the subject, a drowning innocent, may seem bleak, Mihara explains, “Perhaps Ophelia didn’t know it was a tragedy. Perhaps she was dreaming and existing between a fantasy and reality, imagining how beautiful life is… On seeing the original painting for the first time you are unable to comprehend whether Ophelia is alive or dead but you feel her spirit. I hope to portray optimism and hope for the future; I hope that Ophelia is dreaming and only saw happiness.”