Fashion Creator Who Made Kōji Yakusho and Mao Asada Shine Reveals ‘How to Shine in Life’ | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Fashion Creator Who Made Kōji Yakusho and Mao Asada Shine Reveals ‘How to Shine in Life’

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Ms. Yasuno Yasuno being interviewed (Photo by Hiroyuki Komatsu)

Kyoko Koizumi is the foster parent of the stylist!?

While thriving as the stylist for actors like Koji Yakusho, Keiko Matsuzaka, Masami Nagasawa, and Hikari Mitsushima, she also took on the costume design for former figure skater Mao Asada. Behind the brilliance of those who stand on the stage, there is Tomoko Yasuno (65), a fashion creator who runs the jewelry brand ‘CASUCA.’

“I didn’t start my career as a stylist from the beginning. Someone reached out to me, and even though it was something I had never experienced before, I managed by imitating what I saw. That’s how I got to where I am now, and I believe Kyoko Koizumi paved the way for me as a stylist.”

How did Ms. Yasuno, whose family was not involved in the entertainment industry, become a behind-the-scenes figure who made numerous celebrities shine?

Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1959, Ms. Yasuno’s parents were busy with their shop, so she spent much of her time with her grandmother. Her grandmother loved sewing, and her surroundings were filled with scraps of fabric, felt, and other handicraft materials.

“My grandmother used to make brooches out of felt and always attached them to my clothes and hats. That made me very happy.”

Watching her grandmother, Ms. Yasuno gradually developed a love for needlework.

“I became better at needlework than my mother. It might be thanks to my grandmother that I discovered the joy of handmade creations, including remakes.”

Yasuno as a child
Ms. Yasuno’s grandmother, Tomi Shimizu. (Photo provided by Kenichi Shimizu)

In high school, Ms. Yasuno “I wanted to enter the adult world as soon as possible.” She got a job at Seibu Department Store, managing a shop. While handling clothes, she developed a desire to study fashion and enrolled at Vantan Design Institute. Around that time, she discovered the clothing designed by Hideko Kogure, who is now an illustrator and essayist. Mesmerized by Kogure’s world and influenced by it, the proactive Ms. Yasuno, filled with admiration and strong determination, approached Kogure’s atelier.

While working for the fashion brand “2CV HIDEKO KOGURE,” she cultivated various connections. She modeled for fashion magazines such as ‘Olive’ and ‘an・an,’ and even made her debut as a singer in 1984.

“Afterward, I assisted super editor Michio Akiyama, wrote columns, and serialized in small pages.”

At the time, Akiyama was actively engaged in various fields, including producing for the seven-member rock band Checkers and Kyoko Koizumi, as well as working as an editor and creative director. Ms. Yasuno was given various opportunities by Akiyama.

Under Akiyama’s guidance, she was involved in costume production for the quarterly magazine ‘Katsujin’. It was around this time that she met Kyoko Koizumi during work on a photo book. Later, during a commercial project planned by Akiyama featuring Koizumi, there was a scene where Koizumi was chatting amicably with friends. Though not visible on screen, Ms. Yasuno played the role of one of those friends.

“If you’re here, I’d like you to gather costumes as well.”

At that time, not yet a stylist, Ms. Yasuno responded to Akiyama’s request by gathering outfits she thought would suit. One day, Kyoko Koizumi approached her and asked, “Could I ask you to provide costumes?”

Having had no prior experience as an assistant, she only had basic portable sewing tools with her. Sometimes borrowing scissors and tools from others, she managed to make each job work amidst these days of frantic dedication. Eventually, she came to be trusted.

Ms. Yasuno at the beginning of her career as Kyoko Koizumi’s stylist. (Photo: Michio Akiyama)
At the Sochi Olympics, Mao Asada performing in costumes designed by Ms. Yasuno. (Photo: Kyodo News)

Afterward, Ms. Koizumi’s stylist work continued for about 10 years. This experience expanded to styling for other artists and various fields.

In 1994, she founded the stylist agency “CORAZON.” She would go on to style actors like Rie Tomosaka, Haruka Igawa, Hiromi Nagasaku, Kaori Mochida (Every Little Thing), folk duo Yuzu, Satomi Kobayashi, and Masami Nagasawa, and later Koji Yakusho and Keiko Matsuzaka.

Additionally, during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, she designed costumes for figure skater Mao Asada, creating delicate and elegant costumes that garnered attention.

“There’s a saying that ‘the soul resides in the details.’ Unlike bold elements, I’ve always been intrigued by the finer details. As I age, I find myself increasingly drawn to jewelry, perhaps seeking its assistance. While many prefer larger pieces, I believe layering delicately shining items enhances one’s complexion and charisma.”

Ms. Yasuno met Asada through a commercial project. When Asada mentioned the possibility of wearing the costumes during her competitions, it sparked Ms. Yasuno’s involvement in costume design.

“When it comes to Mao-san, I pondered how to express her delicate transparency and ethereal yet energetic presence.”

Upon receiving Mao Asada’s preference for purple, Ms. Yasuno envisioned two designs in varying shades of purple for her short program. Using delicate silk materials to express softness, she dyed the fabric in a gradient of violet hues and adorned it with countless small and large sequins. This costume added brilliance to her performance, capturing the hearts of those who watched.

Costume and design sketch created for the Sochi Olympics short program, February 2014. (Photo by Kaoru Ishima)

Koji Yakusho, who starred in the globally acclaimed film “PERFECT DAYS,” has been acquainted for about 14 years. While not involved in dressing him for films, their relationship is such that she accompanies his team during events like the Cannes Film Festival and Academy Awards announcements, earning a significant level of trust.

When styling, I think, “Mr. Yakusho has a great sense of style. Ultimately, he makes his own choices, but in styling, I make sure not to diminish his natural charm and leave a sense of casualness.” Specifically, I continue, “I’m conscious of lines that appeal not just to his peers but also to younger generations when styling.”

Koji Yakusho at Cannes, France, in May 2024. (Photo provided by Ms. Yasuno)

“When styling, I aim to enhance their natural qualities and make them shine even more beautifully.”

The job of a stylist is to make people shine. It requires keen observation, creativity, a spirit of challenge, and the ability to grasp trends. In an unpredictable world, stylists hone their sense to bring out the best in individuals without losing their essence, day by day.

Members of Tokyo Vintage Girls. From left: Tomoko Yasuno, Kyoko Koizumi, Kishikuri (Photo by Takaaki Tsuchiya)

Tokyo Vintage Girls Project Launches

As her career expanded, Tomoko Yasuno reflected on Kyoko Koizumi as the one who sparked the opportunity to become a stylist. They rarely worked together, but at the end of last year, they reunited after nearly 30 years for a reading theater project.

“During the COVID-19 period, I wanted to hold a sustainable, upcycled fashion show and decided to try it through online streaming.”

Upcycling involves transforming materials into products of higher value for different purposes. Ms. Yasuno, deeply inspired by the era of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), had ambitious plans and ideas for a larger-scale event. She was contemplating how to realize this fashion show, including the team members and the approach to be taken.

When Ms. Yasuno shared her idea with music producer and DJ Kan Takagi, he responded with enthusiasm, saying, “That’s great! It hasn’t changed! Vintage Girls, right?” His words became the catalyst to kick-start the project.

Mr. Takagi suggested, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have models and staff who were legendary women active in the 1980s?” The two immediately clicked. They promptly approached artist Kyoko Koizumi.

They began concrete actions in January of this year. Ms. Yasuno collected relief supplies for the victims of the Noto Peninsula earthquake on New Year’s Day, and Koizumi and painter Kishikuri assisted in sorting and distributing them.

“What if we could be a catalyst for the active and enjoyable senior years? We can’t jump straight into a fashion show, but why don’t we start with contributing to society together with these three?”

Both individuals agreed to Ms. Yasuno’s proposal. And thus, the “Tokyo Vintage Girls” were formed.

The project began with YouTube streaming, and they organized a charity flea market at the CASUCA Omotesando flagship store. Part of the proceeds went to support the earthquake-stricken areas of the Noto Peninsula and the Gaza district in the Middle East.

The phrase that I cherish:

“I think everything in my life has started from someone giving me a single word of encouragement. I want to remember the beginning of things. So, I hold dear the phrase ‘Ichi Gen Ho’on,’ which means not forgetting to be grateful for that single word of encouragement.”

Having lived true to those words, it’s no wonder Ms. Yasuno has earned the trust of many and been loved by everyone.

Her own jewelry brand relocated from Omotesando to Meguro in June, reopening as “CASUCA HISTORIA” on the 10th. The motif for the jewelry created to commemorate this occasion is the “Blue Bush,” inspired by the symbol tree of the Omotesando flagship store. Ms. Yasuno’s gratitude towards all people and things is evident here as well.

In the historical Western-style building in Meguro, what new stories will unfold next? Ms. Yasuno’s ongoing challenge to bring out the best in people continues. (Names omitted in the text)

New Blue Bush (Photo: Provided by Ms. Yasuno)
The Blue Bush previously placed in front of the Omotesando flagship store

◆CASUCA official website

At the new store in Meguro.


Born in 1959 in Saitama Prefecture. Stylist, costume designer, jewelry designer, founder of stylist agency CORAZON / jewelry brand CASUCA.

  • Interview and text by Ritsuko Hiramatsu

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