WELCOME TO our new Ambassador from the Philippines Carlos J. Valdes, his wife Aida and their family. Mr. Valdes has served as Filipino Ambassador to the Vatican and later to Rome before his posting to Japan. We wish them a happy and successful tour of duty here.
Farewell reception hosted by Egyptian Ambassador
The first party of the New Year for me in Tokyo was given by one of our city’s most popular diplomatic couples, Egyptian Ambassador Mohsen and Noha Khalek. It was on Sunday the 8th and the occasion was to say sayonara to Klaus and Bee Kaltenthaler who would be leaving (have now left) for their new home in Hong Kong. The weather was cold but the house and the crowd were warm.
In that crowd were Moroccan Ambassador Abdeslam Tadlaoui his wife Zoubida; Jordanian Ambassador Amer Shammout, his wife Hiyam, and Saudi Arabian Ambassador Zein A. Dabbagh. From the foreign business community there was Nadi Debs with his wife Maha, their daughter Hana; Jane Scolinos with her daughter Pat (her new short hairstyle looks fantabulous) and—surprise of surprises!—Dick and Keiko Collins.
Tokyo Fashion Week 1978
The week was also a week of fashion happening and two of Japan’s top designers—Jun Ashida and Issey Miyake—who are both doing their own thing in Paris, showed the Spring-Summer ’78 collections they had already introduced in Paris. The fashions have been well covered in Fairchild Publications; Pat Salmon reported on Issey’s Paris show, and .Holli or Sandi will hit the highlites for the Mainichi. Conse-quently I’ll pretty much skip over the fashions and talk about the people who were there.
Jun Ashida showed his collection at the Tokyo American Club on Thursday the 12th. T met Michaela von Habsburg and we went over for the 4 p.m. show. I was sorry to have missed Maureen Mansfield who attended the 2 p.m. showing. but was happy to have the chance to see Mrs. Hidesaburo Shoda, who was also at that show and was just leaving. She’s really the height of elegance. Her kimono, obi and accessories are always in perfect taste, her grooming flaw-less and her manner gracious. The poem her daughter, Crown Princess Michiko, wrote for the annual Imperial Poetry Party beautifully describes her mother:
“Surely there is sadness/ That her children/Know nothing of/Yet with what grace my mother/Had passed into her older years.”
Many ambassadors’ ladies had been to the ILBS lunch that day so came to the last show. These included Mona Rankin (Canada), Edith Dauge (France), Assia Ghafa (Algeria), Zoubida Tadlaoui (Morocco) Noha Khalek (Egypt), Badri Maid (Iran) and Margarethe Ernst (Europe-an Communities). Other front rowers included Pat Salmon, Barbara Knode with her tall, good-looking (and I hear talented and intelligent) daughter Kim, Diane de Beauce, Chiye Hachi-suka, Maha Debs, Perla Na-kasone and Agnes Barker.
About a dozen top Japanese and international mannequins made fast changes and walked, ran and danced through over 100 garments in an hour. Much of the collection was made in France and Italy. It got a little gimmicky towards the end with much too many dresses that had elastic bottoms and were raised and lowered to different lengths by the models out on the ramp.
I know the fashion game is a rough one and it is difficult to think of something different .. especially for the shows . . . each season. Our congratulations to Jun on what was for the most part an original exciting collection. My special kudos to mannequins Erna and Lilly . . . they’re knockouts no matter what they wear.
After the show went down-stairs with Jun and some others including Christian Polak of the French Embassy and his wife Genevieve for coffee. It seems Genevieve was the size model for the entire collection.
Issey Miyake’s Spring Summer Collection
The next evening joined the crowd over at Park Studio to see a dynamic presentation of Issey Miyake’s Spring Summer Collection. I had invitations for both the press and “VIP” shows, so caught the end of the press show, had coffee and rapped with Issey between shows and stayed on for the “VIP” segment.
Issey looked tan and healthy from “a much too short trip” to India, but said he was so busy he was really quite tired. It’s no wonder . . . he’s in the middle of preparing his next collection for Pads, been working on and his has book “East Meets West,” an over 200-page book on his career and philosophy.
The book will be published by Heibonsha in both Japanese and English and in the bookshops in late February. Pick up a copy . . . it looks like a real winner. Some of the costumes people wore to the show were as colorful and interesting as what we saw on the ramp later but most were just too carefully planned to really be interesting.
I sat with Ald Mori (his parents are in Paris preparing for his mother, Mori Hanae’s collection showing there) and John Fujii of Fairchild Publications. Ken Ishizu, president of Van Jacket, a man who really helped me when I first came to Japan, joined us.
After the show tables of food were carried in and there was a reception. Faces in the crowd included Yoshiko Morita, wife of the chairman of Sony; fashion designer Junko Koshino, Thierry and Diane de Seance, Bernie Krisher of Newsweek and Philippe Pons of Le Monde newspaper.
Andrew Simmons, who just returned to Japan from Australia, said, “I saw you walking along Waikiki Beach, ran out to see you, but you were gone.” Andrew will be a guest singer on the Akira Fuse show at Nichigeki later this month. Francoise Taborelli joined us and said his taxi was pulling into Manila’s domestic airport as mine was pulling out, said he shouted, but was too late. The world does get smaller.
Meeting Malaysian Minister of Finance
I was waiting for Michaela von Habsuburg at the Hilton and ran into Malaysian Ambassador Lim Talk Choon who told me the was waiting for his Minister of Finance Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Michaela arrived, we had coffee with the Ambassador then had the opportunity to go up to one of the suites and meet Mr. Razaleigh. He has been in Washington, D.C. and will be chairman of the next IMF World Bank Meeting which will be held there. What an interesting and intelligent man! We spent an hour with him and agreed to all get together the next evening for dinner. The following day the Minister went to Kyoto for sight-seeing.
He had plans to be in Tokyo about 9:30, but due to the earthquake trains were delayed and he and his party got in about 11. Since he bad an early flight the next morning, we decided it was prob-ably better we didn’t go out, so had dinner in his suite. We talked about anything and everything and before we knew it, it was 2:30 a.m.
Our thanks to Ambassador Lim for the opportunity to meet and get to know this remarkable man. We do plan on seeing him again in Kuala Lumpur. Speaking of earthquakes, I got a call about an hour ago (Sunday, 15th noon) from my 88-year-old grandmother. She had heard about the earthquake here and was checking to see if I was all right. They never let us grow up, but it’s nice knowing someone cares so much.