36 posts tagged "Rei Kawakubo"
Aitor Throup’s eerie, anatomical drawings have always been a critical component of his body of work. If you’d ever seen only them, you’d be inclined to label him an artist, though it’s as a menswear designer that Throup has insinuated himself into pop culture. And yet, every time he surfaces on Style.com, it’s with a new project that is as much art as fashion. And so it is with this installment of our semi-regular ThroupWatch.
The blurred lines are amplified by the fact that Throup has never really functioned as a fashion designer. In the eight years since he graduated from the Royal College of Art, he has managed to duck the industry’s swinging seasonal timetable. He’s designed collections—though they are better described as “projects”—without ever actually bringing anything to market, until last year’s “New Object Research,” which was a carefully curated overview of his output to date. The clothes quickly sold out in the handful of stores around the world that carried them.
But if there has never been much with his own label attached, that doesn’t mean Throup hasn’t been shaping a singular and stealthily influential presence. He’s always busy with consultancies, for instance. The latest—for Amsterdam-based denim label G-Star Raw—was announced yesterday. He’s also created the visual identities for Damon Albarn’s new album, Everyday Robots, and he’s designing everything for the band Kasabian, from stage design to album sleeves to videos. The latest, “Eez-Eh,” features a cameo by Noomi Rapace (see it here, above), who gets to unleash her rock ‘n’ roll animal alongside the band. The immediacy of the whole thing suggests Throup is getting a much bigger kick out of this sort of stuff than fashion. The sneaky thought even occurs that he keeps himself so busy with outside projects so he never actually has to face up to his own.
Not at all, he insisted last night at a Q&A in London’s Design Museum. Throup claimed all his projects—whatever, wherever they are—feed into each other. They’re all part of the same curatorial exercise, refining his ideas with the ultimate goal of “creating an intrinsic style that only has itself as a point of reference.” And if that sounds grandiose, consider that it’s a similar obsessive impulse that has shaped the careers of true innovators like Azzedine Alaïa, Rei Kawakubo, and Vivienne Westwood. No surprise, then, that innovation was the key word in G-Star’s announcement. Throup’s own definition of what he does is “deeply charged art in the form of product innovation,” which not only provides a bridge between artist and designer, but also promises plenty more fodder for ThroupWatch.
Black is red hot in the hands of Tokyo-based designer Kei Ninomiya. A former pattern-cutter for Rei Kawakubo, and current inclusion under the doyenne’s Comme des Garçons group umbrella, Ninomiya is a chosen one in a line of luminaries like Junya Watanabe. Quietly launched two seasons ago, Noir Kei Ninomiya is a laboratory of technique for the designer, and it is in this third collection that he has hit his stride. Here, the designer explores his chosen hue via varying shades, textures, and frequencies, and each piece is labored over with painfully detailed execution.
The result is a fusion of punk DIY and elegance, anchored in reality. The 30-year-old Royal Academy graduate’s main driving force in fashion is to create something new through a formula of impactful design, beauty, wearability, and a nice price. Biker jackets appear in various forms: Complicated as they may look—bat wings with metal piercings delicately holding the strips together—they wear effortlessly. Men’s tailored pants are constructed of intricately woven velvet and jacquard tape strips or destroyed with laser slashes. Feminine lace is rethought using durable vinyl fabric punctuated with laser-cut patterns, while sequins take on a new identity in faux black leather.
“It’s figuring out how to make it as a product at the same time as exploring techniques,” he explained from the Comme des Garçons building in Tokyo. “There is a dangerous element. The fragility somehow looks beautiful. But you can still wear them as clothes.”
Priced between $480 and $3,585, Noir Kei Ninomiya is sold at Dover Street Market, Comme des Garçons stores, Le Bon Marché, 10 Corso Como in Seoul, and other select retailers.
Since launching her line in 2010, New York-based designer Zana Bayne has been blurring the lines between clothing, accessories, and bondage-tinged harnesses at warp speed. Fresh off her New York fashion week debut, she jetted to Paris, her home away from home, to present her collection to buyers.
“The whole city is black and gold. When I got back to Paris, I thought, Oh, so that’s where this collection came from,” said the raven-haired designer of her Fall ’14 outing, Ornamentalist. The lineup was inspired by fifties-era images from L’Officiel and featured black and croc-embossed cowhide and gold embellishments.
Belts became bras, or were elongated to look like skirts, sometimes with extreme accentuated waists. Some pieces were adorned with tassels, big buckles, or extra rivets, and a lingerie feel was created via elastic details and garter belts.
While in Paris, Bayne welcomed Rei Kawakubo to her showroom—Bayne’s leathers are currently sold at Comme des Garçons in New York, and she’s preparing for a project with London’s Dover Street Market in the fall. Bayne’s wares, which are priced between $150 and $1,500, are also carried by such stockists as Opening Ceremony, Selfridges in London, and Paris’ Mise en Cage.
Bayne aims to clothe more than just fashion’s edgy avant-garde. In fact, the ambitious 25-year-old, who has crafted pieces for both Prabal Gurung and Lorde, is aiming for sartorial world domination. She is expanding her handbag line and splitting her collection into two: the handcrafted runway range Zana Bayne Collection, and Zana Bayne Originals, which will offer seasonless pieces from the archive.
“It’s not just for the cool kids. There are pieces for all sorts of silhouettes. There are garter belts, full-body pieces, and really delicate items as well,” she explained. “I like to make sure there’s a variety.” Bayne hopes there’s a little something in her collections for everyone—even for her dream client, Michelle Obama.
Breakfast with my colleague Maya to go over the lineup for the next issue of Style.com/Print, which we put together while simultaneously covering the shows on the site and publish within a month of the close of Paris fashion week, a live-broadcast approach to making a magazine. Then it was off to the Rodarte show. Last season’s collection got slated, though I sort of liked its trashy energy. This one had more of the Mulleavy sisters’ customary handcrafted offbeat charm and should be a hit with their fans. After that it was on to Diesel Black Gold on the West Side, and then a meeting on the East Side with a European luxury house, who filled me in on its plans for a huge event later this spring.
Tons of energy and lots of food for thought at Marc by Marc Jacobs, which has been rechristened by its initials and is now in the hands of the London-based duo of Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier. Something about the scale of the plywood set and the refracted references here made me think I could have been at a show in Paris. There was an intriguing magpie quality to the clothes, as if you were moving through the racks of Dover Street Market from the Japanese designer section to the sophisticated European section to the streetwear section. My favorite grouping was the BMX-inspired looks. The show was a bona fide smash with the audience. It’ll be interesting to see how the aesthetic, a break from the line’s more insouciant past, plays at retail. Delphine Arnault, of the parent group LVMH, was looking on from the front row.
Talking of Dover Street Market, I ran into the new Comme des Garçons-operated, multiretailer space on Lexington Avenue to say hello to Andre Walker. Walker is the first to describe himself as an “elusive” designer, and after a few stops and starts, he’s back with a small line, thanks to the encouragement of DSM’s Adrian Joffe and Rei Kawakubo. You’ll find it on the seventh floor between Junya Watanabe and Prada, an indication of the esteem Kawakubo has for Walker.
Every season, there are a couple of models who break through and start popping up in all the big shows so that you can trace the day’s development through their changing hairstyles and runway attitudes. This season, those models are Binx Walton and Anna Ewers, who in the space of a few hours went from Bolshevik ninja at MBMJ to sleek gallerina at the serenely beautiful Narciso Rodriguez show that closed another day of New York fashion week.
Come Thursday, Dover Street Market won’t be the only conceptual Japanese-centric retailer in town—Tokyo-based department store Isetan is bringing its Nipponista pop-up to Soho. “Isetan considers New York the hub of fashion in the business sense, and their ultimate goal is to open a permanent store,” said Kohsuke Miki, the creative director of the project. The weeklong pop-up is sponsored by both Isetan and the Japanese government’s Cool Japan initiative, through which the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry aims to promote Japanese products, craft, and technique abroad.
“For more than twenty years, there hasn’t been significant [Japanese] talent that actually surpasses the talent that existed before it,” Kohsuke said. “In the eighties there was Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, and in the seventies there was Issey Miyake, Kansai Yamamoto, and Kenzo Takada.” Kohsuke believes that Nipponista, a cuter construct of the word Japanophile, is the right first step in establishing the new guard of Japanese creative talent and design.
Nipponista’s 2,000-square-foot space, which debuts exclusively here, features wares from some of the heritage brands Kohsuke mentioned—there’s a vintage Yohji Yamamoto ensemble, as well as choice pieces from Kansai Yamamoto’s latest collection (he revived his brand in 2013). But a coterie of designs from five emerging talents, who were commissioned to craft clothes in traditional Japanese indigo, or “Japanese blue,” is the centerpiece. Other fashion offerings include handmade sneakers from Hender Scheme, wearable embroidery from Maison des Perles, geometric jewelry from Shihara, delicate scarves from Suzusan, and garments from Anrealage and Yoko Chan, among others. Everything in the shop—even the giant window display of a teddy bear, which was constructed with hundreds of tiny balloons by artist duo Daisy Balloon—was made in Japan. Continue Reading “Nipponista Lands in New York: Finally, a Pop-Up Store That’s Worth Visiting” »