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Mame Kurogouchi Fall Winter 2021

by pascal iakovou
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Mame Kurogouchi Fall Winter 2021 collection

Nocturnal Window

A dance of moonlight and shadows, fit for a dream of traveling to the moon.

In continuity with last season, the Fall Winter 2021 collection takes its cue from lights filtering through a window. Yet, there is something colder about this glow, as night falls and only moonlight tiptoes into the room from the little square embedded in the wall. The blinds hung on the window creates shadows, fantastic in the variety of their stripes – bent, tangled, fused or blending into nothingness. From these shadows, designer Maiko Kurogouchi took this presence of the light – of the Moon itself – as a pathway into her journey of the season.

Mesmerised by the alternations of shadows and light created by the moon, she looked for ways to replicate optical effects – “tricks of the light”, indeed – on textiles through the use of traditional Japanese techniques and forward- looking approaches. The result: a contemporary line of urban artisanal clothing.

Lines of shadows running along walls and ceilings, occasionally distorting when encountering furniture, turned into the stripe patterns dominating the collection. Straight as they seem, the blurry edges of shadows were expressed through the ancient Japanese dyeing technique called Itajime Shibori, a method of making patterns by pressing cloth between carved wooden boards. While the dyed lines imply the shadowy memory of a moonlit night, the curved pleats become future classics, as their execution requires novel paper patterns to be created by the skillful hands of experienced artisans.

The colourful yet tonal Marble Print expresses natural distortions: the flow of time, shadows and lights merging into one and dissolving into a cold night. At once poignant and extravagant, this hand-made traditional printing could only be done by hand in a factory in Kyoto. The work starts with blending starch and pigments by hand, to create the colour. The resulting dough is then rolled and cut into different shapes and placed according to the pattern. This too relies entirely on the artisan’s knowledge and experience. What makes it fresh and unexpected is the unique encounter between an utterly intimate memory and the cutting edge design. Singularity expressed by the choice of human hands as the only right way to transcribe the vague memory of night.

The osmanthus flower motif bridges an imagined life on the moon and the exuberant life around us. Jacquard and knitted flowers are intermingled with stripes and grids, suggesting shadows created by blinds or a window frame.

The colour palette is suitably urbane. Various shades of grey illuminate the collection like the moon and dark navy washes across like night falling. Bursts of orange add warmth like dusk. Mod coats, short jackets and dresses are patched and vegan leather piping is intended to recreate shadows on the garments.

Accessories inspired by nature and urban life are abundant. Wrapped skirt bags and waist pouches free the hands, while the trekking boots kissed with gold detailing invites to a new adventure. The little osmanthus flowers become earrings and ear cuffs and knitted gloves. For the first time Mame Kurogouchi introduces sunglasses with a cat eye design, in black, grey and clear.

Beyond the opposing pairs of nature and the urban, the Fall Winter 2021 collection is a personal vision aimed to be transmitted to a transversal audience, an embodiment of true modernity through the diversity that is dear to the sensibility of Maiko Kurogouchi. At the core of the season, her deep-held belief that only the most personal can become the most universal.

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