I first encountered Casuca on television, when my favorite Japanese actress, Kyoko Koizumi, was wearing a subtle but stunning necklace in a drama she was starring in.
I went right to the Internet to check where I can get the same necklace, and came across CASUCA, a brand that was founded by top stylist Tomoko Yasuno. Ms. Yasuno is a stylist favored by top actresses, models, and even Olympian figure skater Mao Asada. (Ms. Yasuno was in charge of Ms. Asada’s costume for the Sochi Winter Olympics. )
Excited to learn that her store was very close to my son’s kindergarten, I biked over only to fall in love with the actual necklace. I bought it right away and since then I have been wearing it everyday. Its simplicity and subtleness allows me to wear it with anything and in every season – it works with a t-shirt, a blouse, a dress, or over a turtleneck. Ms. Yasuno wanted to make jewelry that can be worn daily, and the necklace chain is very fragile and light. It is like a second skin that you almost forget you are wearing it. I often get compliments on my necklace -especially about its surprisingly brilliant 18-carat gold chain that is cut in a specific way by craftsmen of CASUCA. This original cut is one of the reasons that has made the CASUCA jewelries so stunning, despite the chain being extremely light, thin, and delicate. The chain is inspired by the fragility of the tail of a shooting star, how it shines brightly before disappearing into the dark night sky.
Ms. Yasuno never meant to start her own brand. As a stylist, she often designed original pieces for the actresses that would embody the character in the TV drama. However, once actresses started wearing them on TV, people started to look up where they can find the same jewelry, only to find there wasn’t a brand or store. With so many requests to start a brand pouring in, she first started her jewelry line which was only available by mail. It did not take much time until she first opened a small shop named CASUCA in a quiet street in Meguro in 2007. The flagship store itself is very tranquil and beautiful, and it has a unique relaxing atmosphere. It is almost like a hiding place from the noises and clutters of the big city. In fact, her store is inspired by the old hut near her house that Ms. Yasuno used to play in during her childhood to hide away in when she wanted to be alone. She kept her treasures- the marbles and glass pieces she collected and gazed at their beauty for hours. Her brand CASUCA means “old hut” in Portugese, and the phonetic sound in Japanese means “faint” or “fragile.”
CASUCA embodies Japanese aesthetics of kenrangouka, wabi-sabi, and kawaii.
Kenrangouka is a term that describes the colorful, luxurious, gorgeous designs that can be found in traditional crafts and kimonos, which developed in the aristocrat’s culture of Japan.
Wabi-sabi comes from the samurai and tea ceremony culture which is heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism. It emphasizes simplicity and subtlety, and sees beauty in nature.
Kawaii is now recognized around the world, and many people link Kawaii to manga or pop, cute girls dressed in maids, however, the original meaning derives from something innocent and lovely.
These three virtues may seem to contradict each other, but all three are an important part of Japanese culture, and they all coexist in Japan, and in her jewelry. The CASUCA jewelries have a brilliant sparkle, but they are also subtle, innocent, and fresh at the same time.
The CASUCA jewelry is designed for women who live courageously, love passionately, and have an appreciation for everyday life.
A great friend of mine has a motto to buy one piece of art and one piece of jewelry when she travels to remember that place.
My recommendation for jewelry to remember Tokyo would definitely be CASUCA.
They are opening a pop-up store at Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi at the Isetan Salone on the 1st floor of the Galleria from January 11-24, 2017. Tokyo Midtown is open from 11:00-21:00.
Address:1-23-15 Meguro, Meguro-ku Tokyo
Closed: Mondays, except when Mondays fall on holiday