Metal Couture. Noir Kei Ninomiya AW21

Entitled “Metal Couture“, Noir Kei Ninomiya‘s collection was all about excitingly unfamiliar silhouettes and extraordinary surfaces. This season, however, the designer takes a more aggressive approach. Those first looks featuring thin, stainless-steel spikes felt like an exaggerated, haute take on social distancing. The cylinder forms of tufty organza also seemed to say: ‘don’t bother me’. Black clusters of puckered organza (sea sponge–ish) look so tactile you wish you could actually touch them yourself to judge whether they are soft or razor sharp. Kei Ninomiya is a genius in creating organic-like garments that are both challenging and so, so intriguing.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Monochrome Serenity. Comme Des Garçons AW21

In the Comme des Garçons autumn-winter 2021 fashion show images coming straight from Tokyo, Rei Kawakubo‘s models looked as if they were walking clouds. “I needed to take one breath on the monochrome“, the designer summed up in her always-enigmatic manner. Monochrome is Kawakubo’s original signature. In the early 1980s, right at the start of her showing in Paris, Rei’s uncompromising use of black was deemed “shocking” and “conceptual” – especially in contrast to all the bold colours used by Montana or Saint Laurent at the time. Here, the designer seems to push it to extremes, creating wearable, layered-up sculptures which were kept in a rigorous black-and-white palette. With the addition of the rakish stovepipe hats made in collaboration with Ibrahim Kamara, the billowy dresses and voluminous coats played with romantic, Victorian styles. Comme des Garçons’ “monochrome serenity” definitely comes from an escapist place, breaking away from the global, lockdown routine. The longer you look at those pieces, the more beautiful things are revealed.

“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Motional. Beautiful People SS21

Hidenori Kumakiri creates shape-shifting garments at his Tokyo-slash-Paris-based label, Beautiful People. The former Comme des Garçons pattern-cutter makes classic clothes bordering with fantastical volumes, a mix of femininity and 1950s couture sensibility combined with the Japanese avant-garde. The brand presented the spring summer 2021 Side-C Vol.5 Motional collection, which explores today’s world, where we are stuck in our homes, and overwhelmed by emotions, with a striking film directed by Takahiro Igarashi. The collection sends message of optimism and rebirth, with the bustle-like shapes, and big and flowing volumes. “Side C, the transformative look at classics that focuses on the layers and the in-betweens of clothing, finds another dimension: a flowing, dynamic one. By creating an interconnecting system of pockets inside the garments, and filling them with small beads, movable silhouettes are created. The beads flow as the body moves, sits or stands, allowing for endless reconfigurations. A skirt turns into a couch, a dress into an armchair, only to revert back to what it was,” the press note says. The result is a look at the classics and the layers in between the clothing – a collection filled with an interconnecting system of pockets inside each look which allows them to be filled with small beads. With each movement, the shape and volume of each look changes into an endless array of silhouettes. And when topped off with pillow-like hats, there’s another nod to home and the familiar elements of our humble abode. Incredible.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Domenica More Gordon x Arts & Science

Sometimes, completely out of the blue, you discover something truly incredible on Instagram and can’t stop thinking about it. Artist Domenica More Gordon adds a special touch every year during Arts & Science‘ holiday season. This year too, her charming works are joining the highly-curated Japanese store (which actually requires separate post!). As a special project for 2020, Arts & Science received her one-of-a-kind handmade embroidered mini-bags from Scotland. Domenica has personally sewn by hand her dogs, birds, and plants on original A&S fabrics combined with her collection of used leather from horse gear. The handsewn features is like a good luck charm – an “amulet” as well as being functional bag to keep small items. The embroidery work unique to Domenica is a must see, the pieces reflect the exact same touch of her illustrations – but this time sewn onto an accessory. In the artist’s words, “I made these bags to contain not just the small essential items of modern life, phones, credit cards and keys, but also the larger and less tangible things like joy, pleasure and happiness. I like to think of them as practical amulets to help fend off the unsettling nature of these times. Making these bags gave me huge pleasure and I hope that they may do the same for you.” The 12 pieces are up for sale as a “blind auction” on Arts & Science on-line store. In addition, the pieces are exhibited at Arts & Science Aoyama until, well, today. One of those bags would be an amazingly charming gift!

Think Pink. Noir Kei Ninomiya SS21

Extraordinary – that’s how one might describe Noir Kei Ninomiya’s garments. Most of them are sew-free constructions – he prefers rivets, snaps, or grommets – and for spring-summer 2021, we’ve got a series of handmade hyper-extravagant dresses, all of which would be perfect for a Björk album cover or a Nick Knight shoot. While Ninomiya usually stays close to his favourite palette of black, here we’ve got a deslightful splash of bubble-gum pink. Is this a sign of hope for a troubled world? The designer leaves it to your interpretation. Grandiosely modern silhouettes were delineated in materials that included wire, pearls, PVC, chain, a symphony of polyester fabrications, ribbon, satin, cotton, wool, three types of leather, and taffeta, with which the amazing aura-haze of the last look was constructed. Note the four varieties of this-season’s collaboration with the Prada-owned English shoemaker Church’s. These florally studded footwear options are the most straightforward way, along with his biker jackets, to buy into the Ninomiya aesthetic. Love!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.