RIP Vogue Nippon’s Yuki Matsuyama

Last Friday I had some very sad news from some of my former colleagues at Vogue Nippon. Yuki Matsuyama, the accessories director, had died the day before from cancer. She’d been in hospital since the start of the year but unfortunately I think she had started treatment too late. Outside of Japan, her name is probably not so well known, but she was a very creative person and more importantly, a very human person in an industry where that quality can be rare. We worked together for about seven years, during which time I accompanied her as an assistant and interpreter to a shoot in Arizona, and I also interpreted for her at meetings with overseas staff and translated emails when she was planning shoots with creators such as Ilan Rubin and Isabelle Bonjean.

Matsuyama san (or Macchan, as was her nickname at Vogue) loved accessories and big prints – my memories of her are overwhelmingly of bright 60s-70s Pucci style colourful shift and maxidresses and sunglasses, regardless of what fashion dictated at the time. Of course I can’t find any of the photos I took when we were on the shoot because all my Vogue magazines and photos from my time in Japan are all over the place, but I managed to dig up this one from about 2003. Matsuyama san is in the middle holding a glass of wine (something that she also loved… I remember her sipping on a glass at her desk most evenings, smoking at the same time).

L-R Kyoko Osawa (Matsuyama san’s assistant who is also an amazing stylist in her own right); Gen Arai, who I think is now a fashion features editor; Kaori Tsukamoto (who is now editor in chief at Figaro Japon but at this time was fashion director at VN and my direct boss); Ako Tanaka (now editor in chief at Numero Japan but then senior fashion editor at VN) and on the bottom right, me. We’re dressed kind of in Victorian garb because we were seeing off Tsukamoto san and her favourite film is The Piano. Weird, I know, but we always had to dress up as something for VN events.

Matsuyama san loved children and I think some of her favourite work was for Vogue Angels, a children’s supplement. This is one of the covers (although the image is actually from a story by Kyoko Osawa).

Here are some images from Matsuyama san’s stories:

Imagination Land, a GAP promo with Ayumi Shikata, VN May 2008

Fatal Attraction with Ruven Afanador, VN July 2007

Oh, to be Adored, with Sabine Villiard, VN Angels May 2008 (picture at start of post from this story also)

Fantasyland, with Ayumi Shikata, VN Angels May 2009

I really tried to find some of her fabulous jewellery shoots, but all my copies of VN are scattered throughout the house and garage (dare I say I’m not sure where some of them are? Sacrilege, I know) so these were all that I could find. Sorry, Matsuyama san. I hope wherever you are, you’re looking at something beautiful – and if it’s not beautiful now, it will be by the time you’ve turned your talents to it.