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Steve Nakamura: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Candy Candy

Work / Photography

Making Harajuku look amazing is Steve Nakamura’s talent

My response thus far to fashion persuasions like Harajuku has mostly been confused blinking. Then Steve Nakamura, an art director living in Tokyo, sent us his artwork for the impossibly popular 19-year-old Japanese singer/Harajuku model/blogger, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The costumes, make-up and styling is totally extraordinary – playing up to the whole fusion blend of wide culture references, extreme features and voguing jestures – and not just about being “cute.”

When I asked about how he came to work on Kyary’s artwork for her forthcoming Pamyu Pamyu Revolution album, Steve, an LA-born, Central St. Martin’s educated creative, highlighted the strange combination he and one of Japan’s biggest pop stars made. And this is why the label chief of Warner (her representation) brought them together: "Many clients I work for are Harajuku fashion based. But I would never approach them in the same way that Japanese born/raised people do.

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Steve Nakamura: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Tsukema Tsukeru

“I think if you art direct Kyary in a predictable way, you would take photographs of her in the streets of Harajuku or in a white studio, wearing vivid colours, plastic, cute. To me, that’s not so interesting.” What he, photographer Takeshi Hanzawa, stylist Kumiko Iijima and make-up artist Shinji Konishi have created is a new contrast between her whole image and the way she has been captured that is to say, “gore and fantasy – done in analog fashion.”

It’s unexpected and I still don’t understand it (fashion in general), but that’s nothing to how much I like it.

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Steve Nakamura: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Tsukema Tsukeru

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Steve Nakamura: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Candy Candy

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Steve Nakamura: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Tsukema Tsukeru

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Steve Nakamura: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Candy Candy

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Steve Nakamura: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Revolution cover art