Lords of the cloth

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After a brief flirtation with retirement last March, Montsuki designer Patty Yamasaki is back, though on a smaller scale than before.

Yamasaki said the calls from “distraught” clients never stopped, and in the process of finishing the last of her custom orders, she was spotted by the owner of a Kaimuki building on the street one day, and was offered a space at 1223 Koko Head Ave.

She took her time mulling over the idea before deciding to move in. But she wasn’t about to let business take over her life again.

At Atelier 1223, she had the leisure to go boxes of vintage fabrics and materials she had amassed over 20 years. Among the first items she found were 100% cotton “nobori,” Japanese festival banners dating from the 1940s through ’70s.

Out of these dramatic 10- to 15-feet pieces of fabric—hand-stenciled and hand-painted with stylized images of “daimyos” (feudal lords) with their swords, horses and castles symbolizing strength and valor—came colorful jackets and mod dresses, some in neon paint.
Only 36 pieces are available, selling for about $360 to $390.

It took Yamasaki about a month to complete her “Daimyo Series,” and she said she has about 75 to 100 boxes of fabric to go through. She continues to tell clients that once the boxes are empty, she’s done. You do the math.
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Atelier 1223 at Montsuki is on the second floor at 1223 Koko Head Ave., above Calico Cat, in the green building behind the Kaimuki Goodwill store.