Japanese-born artist Masami Akatsuka attended the Bunka fashion school in Shibuya, Tokyo, before moving to France to study fine arts. But it wasn’t until her two children, Moë and Kai, were born that she gained confidence to start her own children’s clothing and accessories line.
Based in Céret, a small village in the Pyrenees mountains bordering the Mediterranean, Akatsuka works out of her home studio during the day while her children are in school. Akatsuka finds inspiration in the varied geography of Céret: based at the foot of the mountains, the town is surrounded by lakes and waterfalls and is not far from the sea, where she collects natural objects to decorate her home and workspace. Not surprisingly, the area has served as a sanctuary for the likes of Picasso, Soutine, Chagall, Matisse, Miró, and Tàpies; locals call it the “small city of art.”
For the past five of the seven years she’s been living in Céret, Akatsuka has been designing the Cocon Etc. children’s clothing line as well as fabric branches and mobiles. She decorates her home with pebbles, shells, and driftwood that she collects on the beaches, as well as vintage finds. Cocon creations have a wistful and lighthearted side to them, though Akatsuka says, “I have not yet dared to use dark color for my creations, but I feel it now for this coming fall and winter.” Follow her creative directions and inspiration via Cocon and her blog, Cocon Etc.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on August 20, 2012.