Sogetsu in bloom at NM

March 12th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos
Sogetsu arrangements by Lillian Chang, with assistance from Nancy Fujita, Zsuzsa Rasteger, Tina Semenza and Caroll Takahashi grace the second-floor escalator sides at Neiman Marcus.

An exhibit of floral arrangments can last only as long as the plants used, so ikebana fans should rush over to Neiman Marcus before its Sogetsu Ikebana Exhibition, “Journey Through Paradise … And Beyond,” ends Sunday.

The show opened March 11, when a planned 9 a.m. reception was dashed due to the tsunami warning. Nevertheless, the Sogetsu students and flower aficionados trickled in and quickly spread throughout the store to take in the 43 ephemeral displays.

Sogetsu instructor, or seifu Linda Hamasaki directed 42 students in the task of creating displays for specific spaces and departments within the store, inspired by spring’s color and floral trends. For instance, to coincide with the minimalist design aesthetic of Jil Sander, Linda instructed Joyce Tomonari to come up with a minimalist mobile.

Joyce used pine needles to create spare hanging basket-style arrangement. She said she started with pine needles from a New Year kadomatsu arrangement she had created, and when she ran out, Linda found more.

Linda Hamasaki, left, and Joyce Tomonari created the large arrangement at the ground floor escalator side.

While some of the plant materials for the exhibit came from the yards of the Sogetsu students, much of it was contributed by the Big Island’s Greenpoint Nursery.

The Sogetsu School of ikebana was established by late Iemoto Sofu Teshigahara (1900-1979) in 1927. Bringing a contemporary mindset to the traditional artform, he was open to incorporating customs, plants and materials from all over the world, making ikebana available to everyone. Rather than restricting its arrangements to reflect nature, Sogetsu takes a sculptural approach to design.

Seed pods and branches give this display a coral-like effect. It’s the creation of Janis Ishiki with help from Jayne Iwamoto, Diana Jardine and Ernell Nishimoto.

In the Jil Sander area is a minimalist mobile Joyce Tomonari created from pine needles and plastic tubing. The needles, 3 to 6 inches long, were stitched and held in place with a glue solution, and creating the work took about 50 hours.

Throughout the store, displays echoed color palettes for spring.

Once on a flower-spotting mission, one couldn’t miss the many inspirations around the store, from a Roberto Cavalli blouse, to the design of Marc Jacobs’ Lola and Daisy perfume bottles.

A climbing, curlicue arrangement by Marlene Tom and Naomi Loewe graces the Men’s Sportswear department.

The bulk of smaller student arrangements are  on view in the first-floor Special Events Room, such as this one by Judy Slawsky.

A Neiman Marcus display incorporating stones, water and flora.

In the third-floor Gift Galleries, students present their interpretation of entertaining Sogetsu style through creative table settings. Above is a mobile by Leila Diamond, with help from Bertie Lee. Below, a table set with colorful, floral china and an anthurium arrangement by Naomi Loewe and Marlene Tom.

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