Akira Minagawa

“The collaboration with ISETAN makes me able to create things with foreign brands and creative people around the world. That’s excellent.”



ISETAN Shinjuku has been developing various items collaborated with “minä perhonen”. Limited snow domes designed by Akira Minagawa are sold and very popular, alongside cups and notebooks, at “Re.Style” newly set up in East Park, where ladies mode section were remodeled and reopened on 3rd floor of main building on Dec.5th.
The Fritz Hansen chair collaborated with “minä perhonen”s fabric born in 2003 also appears for a limited time.
In addition to them, flagrance candles collaborated with “diptyque”, which is a well-known Paris flagrance brand among fashionistas, will be introduced in March 2013, when ISETAN Shinjuku will hold a grand opening after remodeling.
The first “minä perhonen”s original candles with three kinds of scent will be on prior sale at “Re Style Gift” from March 6th.


An Egg chair with “kaleidoscope” fabric from a 2011-12 AW collection, which expand the world looking through a kaleidoscope, is displayed at Re Style Styling Salon on the 3rd floor of ISETAN Shinjuku main building.
\812,700(including tax)〜
Order to made only. Price will differ with fabric.

  • December 5th 〜 31th, 2012
  • The Stage #3 / East Park at ISETAN Shinjuku Main Building 3F

Akira Minagawa Akira Minagawa

CIEL:フレグランスキャンドル シエル 190g 7,875円
INFINI:フレグランスキャンドル アンフィニ 190g 7,875円
JOIE:フレグランスキャンドル ジョア 190g 7,875円

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minä perhonen

Akira Minagawa

Born in 1967. In 1995, he launched the “minä perhonen” collection based on original fabric designed by himself. In 2006, he won the grand prix of “Mainichi Fashion Award”. He designed uniforms of Aomori Prefecture Museum and Tokyo Sky Tree R. Nowadays he is internationally expanding his design work from foods, tableware and stationeries to interior items.
There are collaboration works such as providing his design for “Liberty”, “Kvadra” in Denmark, “iittala” in Finland and “Richard Ginori” in Italy.
Another one with Swedish potter Lisa Larson whom he has respected since long ago was introduced at ISETAN Shinjuku in November 2011 and got into the news.


  • Akane Watanuki
Akira Minagawa
Akira Minagawa


Akira Minagawa interview by Akane Watanuki The collaboration for ISETAN makes me able to create things with creative people and brands around the world, which is difficult by myself. That's excellent.

Mr. Akira Minagawa, a designer of “minä perhonen”, is expanding his designing works not only clothes but fabric, furniture and goods.
Ms. Akane Watanuki has watched his works for more than ten years as an editor. She, who was in charge of Mr. Minagawa’s serial articles in a magazine “SPUR” in 2003, is the one who understands him.
You can feel that she purely loves Mr. Minagawa’s works as reading the following interview. He seemed smooth to talk with her.

You have done lovely collaborations with ISETAN Shinjuku for long years. I heard there are new special products, which all over “minä perhonen” × ISETAN, at “Re Style Gift” newly born by recent remodeling.

Minagawa:There are two. The first is the aroma candles born by collaboration with “diptyque”. We started preparing it about a year and half ago for the opening after remodeling.

Tell me how was going in process.

Minagawa:At first I wrote ten poems and then held the scenes imagined through the poems in common with the person in charge of “diptyque”. For example if there is a phrase like “Walk through out of woods”, so the scene imagined is something like that the scent of pretty flowers and green grass tickles your nose after walking through the place where the pleasant smelling of moist soil and woods hangs in the air. I asked them not to be the one definite scent but to create a scent of “layers” from flowers to grass.

The episode sounds like very Mr. Minagawa who expands an imagination by words or poems to create every seasonal collection.
I guess it was easy for the “diptyque” staff to understand.

Minagawa:I think so. We are not professionals for fragrance, so put actual compounding into experts’ hands. It was not in my line. Even if I have knowledge enough to do, it is like to give a chef a recipe. I don’t think that the way bears good things.
I think it was easier to communicate by using words and scenes that can expand imagination.

How many kinds of aroma candles were made?

Minagawa:Three kinds. We started to make seven by way of trial, and then narrowed. Three impressive ones were left as a result.
We named “Shell”, “Joie” and “Enfini” for each.

The name of “Enfini” is especially interesting, isn’t it?

Minagawa:It expresses an image of “yuragi (flickering)”, if I say. In some way I think the beauty of Japan exists in “yuragi”.

What kind of scent has the “Enfini”?

Minagawa:You can say it something nostalgic.
The scent may remind your childhood or send you back to the times.

Talking about “diptyque”, their package design is characteristic. Are their iconic oval label and specific black lettering used for your candles, too?

Minagawa:Yes. Three poetic names said above are put on the oval labels and we also tried something new. Keeping their icon, the creativity of “minä perhonen” was added in graphic design.

Akira Minagawa

Did you have any problem in process?

Minagawa:Never, like that (as laughing). We had meetings when we went to Paris for our show or when they came to Japan.
There was no big gap between us only except minor adjustment of the strength of scent by way of trial.
I was confident that we had the same feeling.

They were very easy to work with, weren’t they?

Minagawa:I guess so. We’ve experienced various collaborations and this project was very impressive and important one among them, I think.

Is there another project for “Re Style Gift”?

Minagawa:That’s the snow dome. It took three years long to complete! (as laughing).

Tell me why it took so long time.

Minagawa:I imagined a pastoral scene that snow falls on a rural house somewhere in Europe…. at the first place.
We started making with my sketch drawn in detail but the idea had a difficult part in process to put into practice. I had to give it up.

I am sorry for it. So did you have another plan in place of it, didn’t you?

Minagawa:Yes. The next one is the scene with a standing still fairy in the snow. Expanding the image of butterfly, the symbolic motif of “minä perhonen”, it became a fairy of butterfly.
Butterflies don’t fly in winter, but this fairy was trying to fly in powdery snow.

Could you that butterfly fairy you designed put into a nice figure?

Minagawa:The modeler made my two-dimensional sketch into a three-dimensional figure very well.
The details and volumes are elaborately reproduced.
In addition to it, I asked to make snow very fine to look like particles of light.

It was worth having taken time.

Minagawa:I’m very glad the result is more creative than what I imagined.

What else of “minä perhonen” goods except those two limited products for ISETAN will be at “Re Style Gift”?

Minagawa:Glasses named ”Whip” with butterfly motif will be as a limited edition for “Re Style Gift”. There are also notebooks and ceramic products made in Hazami.
Fabric covered boxes may appear at the floor, too.

Akira Minagawa

I’m looking forward it. As I said at the beginning, you have collaborated with ISETAN many times. What’s the most impressive project as looking back over the past?

Minagawa:It’s after all the project with “Lisa Larson” in autumn 2012. I did painting her works for “The Exhibition of Lisa Larson” held at ISETAN Shinjuku.
I was a teenager when I encountered her work. I can’t find any word to express the happiness of working with her after more than twenty years. That’s why the project gave me a strong impression.

Tell me if you have any other unforgettable project.

Minagawa:The collaboration with “Richard Ginori” in autumn 2011 is also memorable. I went to the factory in Italy and discussed with Paola Navone, a designer at that time, in Paris. We couldn’t make ourselves understood with our languages, but we could show our works and exchange smile…(as laughing). I had an impression we have a resemble atmosphere.

As creators, you both have much to understand, I think.

Minagawa:It might be. The collaboration for ISETAN makes us able to create things with such creative people and brands around the world, which is difficult by ourselves. That’s excellent.

I would like to hear about the future of your creation.

Minagawa:I design various products like chairs, but my main work is after all fashion. I want expand my design work based on fashion.

Talking about chairs, the collaboration with “Fritz Hansen” has continued for a long time.

Minagawa:The Egg chairs with new fabric were added for the first time in these nine years. The fabric named “imagine” of 2012-13 A/W collection, “fogland” of 2007-08 A/W collection and “kaleidoscope” of 2011-12 A/W collection are used. The chairs are made-to-order and available to order for a limited time at “Re Style” of ISETAN Shinjuku.

The Egg and Swan chairs of “minä perhonen” are popular, aren’t they? Do you have any other plan to design furniture?

Minagawa:I think that furniture is the item to require maturing. It’s something to mature in me, to be formed and then it will mature by itself as taking years, not like fashion delivered in a half-year cycle. It’s something like that, I think.

The answer sounds very Mr. Minagawa (as laughing). I am hoping for the world of “mina perhonen” expanding into various fields.

Minagawa:As I previously said, I would like working on fashion first of all without breaking my usual emphasis and then expand fields based on it.
I can say about every project such as collaborating works with different genres that I want to do it so that I can’t easily leave it to someone’s hands.
I would like creating things suitable for “mina perhonen” within the range I can properly keep an eye on.