Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Be Lolita, Be Happy Episode 2 - Fun with KUNIKA!

Photo from Kunika's Twitter
This week on her show Be Lolita, Be Happy, which details the work of various professionals within the lolita fashion scene, Misako Aoki welcomed famous Japanese confectionary artist KUNIKA. In celebration of her guest, Misako started off by explaining her chocolate-themed coordinate from Baby the Stars Shine Bright, and inviting viewers to send in questions and comments throughout the show via Twitter. In a brief interlude, Misako showed a slideshow of her favorite desserts from this summer which featured a lot of sweets which were perfectly cool for the hot August weather in Harajuku.

From the brief description given by Misako, we learned that KUNIKA is a trained chef who worked at the Mandarin Oriental before moving her talent into the field of confectionary artist. She makes incredibly detailed cakes, and cookies for all sort of occasions and customers including AKB48 and Popteen. Misako revealed that the two worked together last Christmas to create images for Misako's Lolita Fashion Book and that KUNIKA created many of the cakes and iced cookies which were used in the various photoshoot sets. Some of her most creative works featured in these photographs included tiered hear cakes and large colorful star cakes. Misako at one point marveled at how KUNIKA was even able to bring all of her cakes and cookies in such perfect condition to the studio on the day of the shoot. The photos shown illustrated the real artistry which KUNIKA brings to her work and the detail-oriented execution of her craft which mirrors the production of our favorite lolita dresses.

The two then went through some photos of KUNIKA's works including colorful edible cakes, beautifully painted frosted cookies, delicate towers of sugary cupcakes, and even a Barbie doll's dress made entirely out of layers of ruffled icing. In her work at the Mandarin Oriental, KUNIKA mostly worked with cakes which she finds to be a staple of her works even today. KUNIKA brought a number of her animal cookies to the studio and it was amazing to see the details up close! The icing job was superb and the lines looked clean enough to have been drawn in ink instead of something edible. She also showed off her sketchbook where she plans out various different elements of a creation and drafts designs with a ballpoint pen before working with more difficult materials like frosting.

Looking through the portfolio photos, Misako featured in a number of the lolita photoshoot ones and she recounted a story of when she worked with some cookies which KUNIKA had made for the shoot. Misako noted that they had smelled so buttery and delicious that she had been tempted to try, but hadn't been sure if they were actually edible or not. Laughing, KUNIKA noted that unlike some of the cakes, the cookies she makes are all quite edible.

Throughout the show a number of different viewers sent in questions via Twitter. One viewer asked which piece took the most time to make to which KUNIKA responded that her sugary castle which was featured on the next slide took her two months. The whole piece wasn't really edible but it looked like it had come right out of a fairy tale with its colorful spires and pristine white walls. Another asked about her favorite cafe which ended up being a place in Yoyogi called Asterik which serves cakes, chocolates, and macarons. We learned that KUNIKA's favorite dessert is chocolate cake, and the most important thing she keeps in mind when creating a piece is the customer and their wants. The funniest question came from a viewer who wanted to know whether she had ever gotten hungry while working and eaten one of her creations to which KUNIKA responded in the negative. She did note that while working at the Mandarin Oriental she had tasted things before they were served, but she's never eaten one of her masterpieces.

Aside from cakes and other tasty delights, KUNIKA also sells hair ties and similar accessories which feature her edible works. She recently came out with an iPhone seal which created a pattern of alternating colored Barbie cookies on a plain white background. Due to the ephemerality of her work, these pieces allow for others to incorporate such amazing artworks into their personal style and interact with KUNIKA's designs in a way they would have otherwise been unable to. In this way, KUNIKA's work intersects with photography in much the same way as lolita fashion as the two are ultimately archiving art (whether wearable or edible) made for personal consumption.

At the end of the portfolio slideshow and the Q&A session provided by Twitter, Misako asked KUNIKA how she really figures into the lolita fashion industry. KUNIKA noted that in high school she was inspired by the details of lolita fashion (the lace, the bows, the ruffles), and really admired girls like Misako. She now brings the same passion for beauty and luxurious things into her own work and finds herself working with the very people she admired.

Be sure to watch this full episode over at CYTV and keep your eyes peeled for the release of this week's episode which aired today (Sept 3rd, 2014) featuring Erika a sweets accessories artist from Antoinette Boutique!

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