Don't they look like the kimonos?
Here he is next to some of his really large sculptures.
So, he is Japanese and was asked to design the sets for Madam Butterfly. But, after he started working on the sets he asked to do the costumes, too. This is a very conceptual production.
Before he started designing the sets and costumes he went all over the United State and saw every production of Madam Butterfly he could for a year
This link will take you to a short synopsis of the opera plot.
I started wondering how the story of this opera came about. The program said it was partially based on an auto biographical story written by a French sailor in the 1880's. I found it on line. The link below will take you to the site where it can be read for free in several different formants. It describes 19th Century Japan from the eyes of westerner ... very interesting.
Read Madame Chrysantheme
As I said, I didn't know what to make of them at first. They didn't seem to suit the story, but by the end of the first act I fell in love with them, except for the western men's suits. See how this kimono has one long sleeve and one short one? I like the inventiveness and it kind of represents Butterfly's confusion, how she is living in Japan, but thinks of herself as the wife of an American man.
To see more costume shop photos, read the Washington Opera's Blog post about making these costumes by clicking this sentence.
There are many different kinds of costuming and all is creative. But this is the kind I admire the most. Good costumes play such an important part of good theater!