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Mame Kurogouchi Spring Summer 2021

by pascal iakovou
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Mame Kurogouchi Spring Summer 2021 collection

Spring Summer 2021 Collection

Window

I’ve traveled to many different places. In fact, travel is part of my life and oddly, I seem to always take photos of windows. They are interesting – from that square shape, I can tell a lot about the person and their lives. Curtains are especially intriguing, because they are bought when moving in, but are left behind when people leave. Whether they want to hide their interior or keep it somewhat open, curtains tells the story of a life. As the curtain lives a life at home, after being exposed to the sun for long time, it changes colour, to a hue impossible to replicate through dying techniques. These tones bear history and I’ve always wanted to make garments that would live with time just like that.

As I was left working from home, I found myself staring at windows all the time, seeing the hourly, daily changes outside my window or the curtain softly swelling in the gentle spring breeze. I remembered the curtain at my grandmother’s – how beautiful it is, especially when transmitting, welcoming subtle light in the room in the morning and evening. These curtains have been there since I was a child, and have still not changed. It’s still there. Every time I see it, I remark on how beautiful it is, and found that my mother and grandmother think so too. It’s strange that curtains can retain their beauty over generations, and that any generation could appreciate the same ones. In my own work, this is also the kind of feeling I want to create, something timeless that could be passed on and appreciated by different generations.

When I see the windows of other houses –square, circle, French, with or without curtains – I wonder what kind of lives these people have. This was another form of journey for me, a journey through my memories, and I dug into them to go on my own journey to keep telling a story. Every day, I thought back to the places I visited and the different scenery, and I would keep sketching fictional windows on my notebook to design fabrics and garments to match with the window – or life – existing beyond the frame. Offices were still not open, so I draped my home’s curtains on myself, thinking they would be a nice dress. Voluminous arms and the many, many tucks applied to body or hood came from this experiment. Clothes are to people what curtains are to windows.

For spring-summer 2021, the main colour palette is white, from off-white to the purest white of light. Pale yellow makes an appearance, nodding to the discolourations that can occur over time, creating the impression of different times through different shades. Inspired by the traditional Swatow lace technique, the white embroidered dress features impeccably delicate cutting and precise control on volumes, as well as our signature embroideries all over the body. The Russell lace coat and dress feature original graphic that I drew. Both the summer wool check coat and dress are reminiscent the square shape of windows. The multitude of tucks and unexpected volumes of cotton jackets, shirts and jersey tops are my interpretation of the billowing of a curtain on a window.

While flowers – irises and lilies – are everywhere in the collection, as embroideries and jacquard, they are seen through the practice of Ikebana, rather than any naturalist interpretation.

To share the experience of this peculiar season, the film also delves into the idea of memory and dream. Upon awakening, recollections aren’t always of beautiful scenes, but there’s always eeriness and unease. After all, dreams and memories are different reflections of lived moments. This layer of emotion and feeling had become my deepest inspiration so I wanted to share this through the screen, asking film director Yoshiyuki Okuyama to capture this feeling of ambiguous dreams and surreal memory – scenes beyond reality that make us experience a pang of nostalgia for the past.

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