When I close my eyes, I still see things no one should ever experience: a bright red light, the black cloud soon after, people running in every direction trying desperately to escape - I remember it all.
I always wanted to create clothing that was universal - easy to wear, to care for, and that was also beautiful. As such, I became interested in polyester, and its potential, from the beginning of my career.
From the beginning I thought about working with the body in movement, the space between the body and clothes. I wanted the clothes to move when people moved. The clothes are also for people to dance or laugh.
One of my assistants found this old German machine. It was originally used to make underwear. Like Chanel, who started with underwear fabric - jerseys - we used the machine that made underwear to make something else.
In the Eighties, Japanese fashion designers brought a new type of creativity; they brought something Europe didn't have. There was a bit of a shock effect, but it probably helped the Europeans wake up to a new value.
To be honest, I think we should find first the possibility to make it. Research is first - if you're not interested, you never can find something. Many things happen from forgotten machines - ones that are no longer used.
You see it in the many bouncing clothes that are not just pleats. To make them, two or three people twist them - twist, twist, twist the pleats, sometimes three or four persons twist together and put it all in the machine to cook it.
Paul Poiret did wonderful things because he was so influenced by motifs, but Vionnet really understood the kimono and took the geometric idea to construct her clothes - and that brought such freedom into European clothes in the 1920s.
When I first began working in Japan, I had to confront the Japanese people's excessive worship for foreign goods and the fixed idea of what clothes ought to be. I wanted to change the rigid formula of clothing that the Japanese followed.
Of course there are many ways we can reuse something. We can dye it. We can cut it. We can change the buttons. Those are other ways to make it alive. But this is a new step to use anything - hats, socks, shirts. It's the first step in the process.
I suppose there are many, but I cannot imagine ever having a more perfect collaboration than that which Penn-san and I shared. It was based upon mutual trust, respect, and a desire to have our own work pushed to new places. And it always resulted in delight.
Boys have been wearing skirts for some time now. My three assistants wear mini skirts. They come to work on their motorcycles wearing mini skirts. The French saw the idea on the streets and have done it in better fabrics, and now everyone says, 'Ah!'
If Mr. Obama could walk across the Peace Bridge in Hiroshima - whose balustrades were designed by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi as a reminder both of his ties to East and West and of what humans do to one another out of hatred - it would be both a real and a symbolic step toward creating a world that knows no fear of nuclear threat.