Metamorphose Temps de Fille - Brand Story Translation

The following is an article written by Ms. Kato, the former Meta designer and current Physical Drop designer, about the founding of Metamorphose and her approach to designing Lolita. Found in Issue 11 of the GLB, scans of which can be found at lolitahistory.com. Originally translated by me (Velvet) for an old school discussion thread in 2017, re-posted here in its entirety for posterity and ease of access.

-Brand Story-


Popular for their original pattern onepieces and skirts, the brand Metamorphose temps de fille!

Being Lolita, without being confined by Lolita, we asked what the secret of their designs that feel of "anything goes spirit" is!

Brand History

1993 - while enrolled in Osaka Mode Gakuen "Metamorphose" designs were sold in shops via consignment.

1997 - With the present company director Matsuoka, Metamorphose begins operations in Kyoto.

1998 - From Kyoto, the base of operations was transferred to the current Minamisenba location.
- Osaka company store opens.

1999 - Nagoya store and Tokyo company shop open.

2000 - Changing from private management, it becomes the publicly traded "Metamorphose Temps de fille" (LLC)

2002 - The company name is revised to Metamorphose.


Brand Name Origin

The brand's official name is "Manefest Ange Metamorphose temps de fille". All together there isn't really much meaning (laugh) but I liked the meaning attached to each individual part. "Manifest ange" means "manifest angel", while "metamorphose" means "change" or "transform". I found it in a fashion lexicon dictionary, and the meanings resonated with me so I added it in. "Temps de fille" means "girls era"

Like overthrowing the fixed concepts of Lolita fashion, I want to embrace unpredictability!

Brand Story

I think there are many of those who wish to become designers who idolize the designers of their favorite brand. My situation was "and so, since I have to eat", so there weren't really any particular designers that I idolized. From about elementary school until high school I wanted to be a writer. I wrote short stories, and was involved in a play so I wrote the script for that too. However, during my high school years a band boom swept the world. I too started a band then, so I wanted that to continue forever. But the reality is that a band won't feed you, isn't it? At that time in order to keep doing things I loved, I felt I had to search for another source of income. Thus, if you are searching for a career, then it's fashion business or beautician. After that, since I like cooking perhaps a chef or something. However, it seemed difficult; beauticians' hands become rough and chapped, and their vacations are few. So I dismissed that idea (laughs). At the time, it was still difficult for women to make a career out of being a chef, so I gave up on that as well. So, by process of elimination, Fashion Business it was. The classes at the vocational school were at night, and the tuition was cheap. So I thought "this is it!" And moved forward.

Still, from the start the feeling was that I loved Lolita. It's not that I couldn't continue with Fashion Business, or that I didn't like it. The genre was not in question; I loved western clothes, it was only what particular brand I liked I didn't know. During that time, I became friends with a shop clerk and a customer at a store near my part-time job. They told me "there's a shop you might be interested in!". That shop turned out to be a select shop that carried the indie brands of the day, but today those brands are famous one-of-a-kind and Lolita style brands dealing in western-style clothes. I saw that shop and felt a change in me "It's alright to not be trendy, just me making clothes with this feeling is good." Isn't it so, that Japanese apparel makers won't sell things that aren't chasing the latest trends? Only inside that shop was there no relation to fads and trends, or in only dealing in so-called standard items. So it seemed to have an amazing charm. "How nice~" I said (laughs). Since I felt like that, from the time I was 20 all the homework I made for school became lolita. However, since the school I was going through was very strict on theme, at first they couldn't accept Lolita at all. At a fashion school they could not accept items that weren't "Mode" yet. Indeed, in both eastern collections and Paris collections the relationship between designs was to exclude pointlessness and emphasize the silhouette of clothes, wasn't it? Lolita was if anything decorative, and so I was shunned and kept at a distance. My assignment scores weren't particularly good either. But I continued to only submit lolita, and depending on the teacher I was met with understanding and they quickly remembered my face (laughs). Surrounded as I was with a school where assignments were contests and Mode style was endorsed, and because clothes were made in the conscious image of idolized designers, I felt that I was incredibly different.

I started Metamorphose while I was in school, and the customers too were girls around the same age as me. Moreover, there were students from the same school, so I felt truly apologetic. When I saw people wearing the clothes I made, I would say "thank you", but with the feeling I was apologizing (laugh). From that time I began to live on the income from Metamorphose. There was an income, but fully half of it went to the cost of materials. It was quite difficult. But I felt it was something worth doing, and those around me continued to offer advice. There were many people who were better with technology than me, or with better grades than me, all aiming to become designers. However in practice there are many people unwilling to change, starting something only to quickly abandon it completely. Thus I think it's not simply about your grades in school and the like, it's something different. Now, because of the internet, individuals who make clothes and other things can easily make themselves known to many people, can't they? In those days we didn't have the internet, so those who went to the shop could tell few people about it.

Now I'm not in a band, and the way of expressing something through music and fashion is different. But I think isn't a person's desire to convey something the same? Music too has a message, and in the hands of who receives it it is changed and transformed into various winds. Clothing too is the same I think. The wind changes and become something new depending on who wears it.

The brand concept is "anything goes". While the base is lolita fashion, I personally don't only like Lolita, I like the extensive genre of clothes themselves. So at that time I will mix what I want to do with Lolita fashion. Of course there are surely designers who think differently (laugh).

This year it will have been 10 years since the brand was founded, so I think we should go back to the beginning and reset our feelings. Hereafter I want to live doing unexpected things! I think if possible I would like to overturn the fixed concepts of Lolita fashion. Also, within the staff I have started a literary club, and we're writing stories there. One of these days I'd like to make a book out of it! (Laugh)

Comments

  1. Thank you for the translation! Would you mind if I feature a small snippet on my blog with a link back?

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome, I'm glad you enjoyed! I wouldn't mind it being featured at all, feel free to use it.

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    2. Thank you again! https://www.stephano.me/buttcape/blog/the-origin-story-of-metamorphose-temps-de-fille-by-kuniko-kato

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  2. I added a link to this and the Imai Kira one under the timelines / interviews link lists on the lolita history site, hope that is ok!

    Are you actively interested in translating more content like this? I have a number of designer interviews from different time periods in various books that I could provide scans of if you would like. Just let me know (and/or if you have preferences for publication time or particular people). I haven't prioritized scanning them for the lolita history gallery because I know a lot of western lolita (myself included) can't read them.

    Also, if there is anything in the history gallery that has a low res scan that you need a higher resolution of, or need clearer images of, let me know. I have the whole set of GLB.

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    Replies
    1. I don't mind at all! I was planning on reaching out to you at some point, LolitaHistory is such a fantastic resource. Feel free to rehost the text if you like as well - I think a lot of things have been lost over the years due to accounts being deleted/websites going down and I don't want that to happen here. Just credit me as Velvet please!

      I am! I'm currently working on an insert essay from Escargot Skin that someone was kind enough to scan for me (along with the rest of the magazine, she wants to know if you'd like it for the galleries. Let me know and I'll forward it on to you.) as well as another from the Brand Story series. After those are done, I'm not sure what I'll move on to. I love working with older pieces written by designers for smaller brands, retrospective pieces by lolitas, and things that add to the understanding of what lolita was and is. If you have anything that might fit the bill then feel free to pass it my way! Especially if it's from the small magazines that only lasted a couple volumes.

      Thank you so much! I'll probably take you up on that at some point, it's greatly appreciated.

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    2. Oh wow, I look forward to reading those!

      I haven't gotten around to scanning my copy of Escargot Skin yet and the bindings on those older mooks aren't always the best (my copy of alice doll is physically coming apart for example), so absolutely, if she doesn't mind, I'd be happy to host it on the gallery site. I can set up a log in so someone can upload directly or someone can upload to googledrive or dropbox or something and send me a link? Whichever works best for you all? If you or the person who scanned it want to do a log in for the site, I just need to send you the log in credentials privately somehow. My email should be on my blogger profile now, or you can private message my FB page Raine Dragon (I don't want to just type my email in a blog comment because bots tend to go through those XD).

      I have a book from the Gothic Lolita Punk Brand Book Publisher that is basically all interviews conducted in 2007 of designers and other types of artists in the lolita sphere like Yoh and Imai Kira. I started scanning it tonight and I've posted JetJ, Princess Doll, Marble, Meta and VM to the gallery. It's like 125 pages and that's only page 19, lol. There are also some day-in-the-life things later in the book after the interviews.

      And I'll keep those criteria in mind when picking things to scan :3

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    3. Just sent an email to your hotmail account with a link! Let me know if there's any issues. I reached out to you on Twitter awhile back, but it seems that was ineffective ha! No big deal though since you found me here.

      Surprisingly (or not) I've already had someone request one of those scans, so they'll probably go on my list as well if time permits. That's a pretty amazing book though, so much information in one place. I'm looking forward to translating some of it!

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