Fashion critic Toshiyuki Kurosu has been blogging on Kamakura Shirts’ Japanese website since February 2014.
His devoted readership eagerly awaits each week’s posts about Ivy League style and broader topics in the world of fashion.
Here we present selected posts from Kurosu’s archives in English, translated by W. David Marx, author of Ametora, and Matt Treyvaud.
Nagasawa Setsu, Master Illustrator (No.11)
When I heard the news that my teacher Nagasawa Setsu had passed away on June 23, 1999, my first reaction was disbelief. He may have been born in 1917, but “Setsu-sensei,” as we early students affectionately called him, had been so youthful and vital his whole life that I’d never really thought of him as mortal like the rest of us.
My first encounter with Setsu-sensei was in 1954. I was a college freshman, and there was a photo spread of his fashion illustration under the title “Setsu Style” in the second issue of Otoko no Fukushoku — the forerunner to Men’s Club. He struck me as a strange man. What really caught my eye was his art in the background: fashion portraiture that looked as if it’d been sketched without even taking the pencil off the page.
I’d been toying with the idea of learning to draw but hadn’t yet gotten around to it. Here, I decided, was my teacher—although I didn’t bother actually telling him!—and I set about copying his work from magazines. I drew and drew and drew until I no longer needed anything to copy from. (To be continued.)