Ephemeral. Noir Kei Ninomiya SS22

For this collection, black is expressed through shadows,” said Kei Ninomiya in his spring-summer 2022 notes. “I wanted to express the ephemeral strength and beauty of things that are present around us although we cannot see them clearly.” The show was held in Aoyama, Tokyo, at the Commes des Garçons headquarters. Ninomiya has experimented with non-Noir color previously, most often via brilliant botanical worn installations that were absent today. Instead he expressed his notion of black’s shadow by creating a series of pieces in beige. The idea of something casting a paler shadow than itself implied a reversed polarity of some kind, and the paler procession of pieces did indeed mostly cover the still-breathtaking territory we have seen Ninomiya explore before. Sometimes, as in Look 15, they also looked to break new-for-Noir ground. Two more novelties were the use of woven hemp in rope-adjacent, wearable structures and the first written branding, beyond the garment label itself. The name of the brand was used to make rough white-on-black stripes and checks, which was fine enough on pants, shirts, and cycling shorts. When applied to a more sculptural piece, however, such as Look 9, this branding felt pretty extraneous. Noir Kei Ninomiya is a brand that doesn’t need logomania – those stunning, mushroom-y garments do the talking.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

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.

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.