Becoming nature's canvas


Photo Credit: Teppei Takazawa

Minori is a multi-passionate creative, exploring various forms of expression through fashion and art to capture the essence of nature’s beauty. Best known for her captivating shironuri (white-painted) makeup, her style exudes uniqueness and draws inspiration from both imagination and tradition. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Minori to explore her journey as an artist and the inspiration behind her looks.

Metropolis: What inspired you to start using the shironuri makeup style?

Minori: It was purely by chance that I came across shironuri makeup. Shironuri, a time-honored traditional style often associated with geisha, literally translates to “painting the face white.” Back in 2008, when I began exploring gothic or Lolita-inspired fashion, I found that conventional makeup didn’t quite complement the boldness of these styles.

During this time, a friend recommended looking into the Japanese rock band Malice Mizer, who embraced shironuri makeup as part of their aesthetic. I was struck by how the style enhanced their overall look, and since then I’ve used shironuri makeup to not only harmonize my outfits, but also to preserve the unique “energy” of my appearance.

Photo Credit: Teppei Takazawa

M: What first drew you to using fashion as a form of expression?

Minori: Fashion has always been a part of my artistic journey. When I was young, I used to sketch characters from the anime “Cardcaptor Sakura,” many of whom wore outfits similar to the Lolita style. As I got older, it surprised me to learn that such fashion existed in real life, which prompted me to experiment with the styles I had previously only drawn on paper.

M: Are there any fashion brands you’re particularly inspired by?

Minori: This may come as a surprise, but I’m a big fan of high-fashion brands like Alexander McQueen and Mugler. In my pursuit of crafting a cohesive aesthetic, I’ve found that both brands excel in creating a harmonious energy through their nature-inspired designs and fabric choices. It feels as though the fabric in their creations seamlessly extends the body, enhancing the overall energy of the wearer.

Photo Credit: Teppei Takazawa

M: What role does nature play in your style?

Minori: I’ve always been captivated by the beauty of nature, especially growing up in the Japanese countryside of Kochi, where I was constantly surrounded by it. I’m drawn to nature’s purity as a form of creation, which inspires me to replicate it in my work as an artist.

When I’m conceptualizing a photo shoot, I aim to blend natural settings with the textures and colors of the fabrics I wear, resulting in a captivating interplay that mirrors the harmony of the world around us.

M: How do you typically approach designing your outfits?

Minori: It’s all about the fabric for me. I often find myself exploring Nippori, Tokyo’s renowned fabric district, in search of inspiration for my next creation. It feels almost like fate when I stumble upon something that really catches my eye. Rarely do I venture out with a specific design in mind. I prefer to let the textures, colors, and materials speak to me as I browse through the shops.

Occasionally, I might have a theme in mind that I want to explore, like the time I decided to craft outfits from suit covers or repurpose used plastic umbrella material. I like to maintain a playful approach to my designs, allowing my creativity to flow naturally. Once I’ve selected the fabric, I bring my vision to life using my torso mannequin at home.

Photo Credit: Teppei Takazawa

M: How does it feel to share your fashion and art with a global following?

Minori: It’s been both unexpected and incredibly rewarding to see the level of interest people have in my work. My journey into the spotlight began with a feature on Tokyofashion.com. The collaboration was a success, and soon after, my following began to grow rapidly. I’m grateful that the global audience appreciates my artistry and embraces my individuality. I don’t conform to any specific subculture mold, so being accepted as I am is truly validating and inspiring.

M: Do you have any future aspirations?

Minori: I simply want to keep creating. Have you ever seen the rows of Buddhist statues at the Sanjusangen-do Temple in Kyoto? One of my dreams is to host an exhibition featuring all of my fashion photos and artworks, inspired by the vibrancy of those statues. There’s something truly special about bringing to life what’s inside you. I don’t think I’ll ever stop pursuing that dream.

See Minori on Instagram: @minori00mon