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Travel + Leisure July 2008

Kimonos Redux
for style-conscious women, it's a familiar dilemma: you're heading out for the night and need something to hold your keys, cash and mobile phone, but all your bags are either too big or too small. Kazumi Nakanishi, a Japanese expatriate in Hong Kong, came up with her own solution: Chako (available at boutiques in Hong Kong and London; purses from HK$2,200;, a line of perfectly sized, one-of-a-kind clutches made from gorgeous vintage kimonos and obis. Nakanishi stumbled upon the idea while working in Boston. At her request, her mother, Fusako, had stitched together a bag from an old kimono, and Nakanishi found herself receiving compliments from strangers who wanted to know where it came from. "But then I got to Hong Kong, where people tend to go out a lot, for cocktails, for parties. So what I really needed was a more elegant clutch," she says. The mother-and-daughter team sources their fabrics from weekend antique markets in and around Tokyo (they prefer keeping their sources secret). The company is also about to become even more of a family affair: for the fall 2008 collection, Nakanishi plans to collaborate with her sister, an artist, to make purses adorned with classic obi-domes, the brooches used to fasten obis. - j.c.

One-of-a-kind clutch bags made from Japanese obi & kimono
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