17 September 2010

A Material Process

Fall 2009 Collection

Japanese fashion arguably truly came into its own within the 1980s, after which it was ostensibly eclipsed by a newer generation of international designers in the 1990s.  However in the past few years a number of designers have emerged once again from Japan whose technical innovation and attention to craft really has made quite the influential impact.  One such designer is Kazuyuki Kumagai, who begun his career at Issey Miyake, specializing in researching alternative materials and techniques for the process of creating clothing.  He soon went on to become the assistant designer for Issey Miyake, before moving on to create his own label.  He works with two lines, designing for both the Japanese domestic market under Attachment, and for the international market with the eponymously-labeled Kazuyuki Kumagai.

In an interview with Scoute, Kumagai explained that he felt "that the eighties movement exemplified by the Holy Triumvirate of Yohji, Issey and Comme was about to come to an end, and a new fashion movement combining both street and high fashion elements was needed".  This new fashion movement took the form of Attachment, founded in 1999, however after moving to show in Paris Kumagai realized that he needed to create a more streamline and refined collection for the international press, and as such the Kazuyuki Kumagai line began.  The focus was very much on textiles and researching new materials and developmental processes to design around.

In such a way Kumagai's approach reminds me very much of Yamamoto (or indeed Miyake whilst he was still designing), whose process begins with the fabric - feeling it and seeing how it drapes, than designing a garment around the nature of the fabric itself.  I have always thought that such an approach is fascinating, for a sketch is only ever a sketch, it is restricted and defined by what can be done with the fabric and materials chosen.  Designs need to be made with the fabric in mind, and using the fabric to inspire allows the designer to create clothing which not only explores the limitations of that fabric, but also allows the designer to constantly consider the relationship of that fabric against the body, and as such the experience of the wearer.

Indeed in terms of attention to craft and fabric, the Fall 2009 collection by Kumagai is one which really interests me.  It was an exploration of the design process and use of materials that so exemplifies his work, although not without its consequences.  Whilst sharing similar threads of aesthetics with his earlier work, the collection was slightly haphazard in its arrangement, for there was a slight incoherence, which although not majorly distracting, was still noticeable.  Given the relative youth of the Kazuyuki Kumagai line, this was however perhaps not all that surprising.  And indeed whilst there was a certain lack of a strong "voice", for want of a better phrase, the wearability and design of the individual pieces was however very strong.  From the padded jackets, to the fitted leathers, to the draped tops, to the bow tied shirts, to the blazer closed with a safety pin, the collection was varied yet delightfully exciting.


I really enjoyed this look, especially the juxtaposition of the tailored, yet relaxed, upper with the ease of the sarouel trousers.  Indeed the design of the trousers throughout the collection really stood out for me, from the relaxed sarouel trousers of this look, to the j-shaped jeans of the look below - they certainly added an element of flair to the relevant looks.  In a way I suppose the trousers in this look reminded me of traditional pleated Oxford bags, albeit tapered and cropped.  That was something I found myself liking, especially with the historical referencing to the Victorian gentleman with the formal looks later on in the collection.  The tailoring of the outerwear pieces was also really interesting to see, for they were clean and traditional, however with details such as the tripled-peaked lapel they stood out nicely.  The styling choice with the chain and bow tie was also a welcome touch, and indeed I found myself rather taken by the chains in the later gothic dandy looks.

I loved the look of these j-shaped jeans.

A modern gothic dandy?

Currently playing: Gasp - Japanese Cartoon 

xxxx

16 comments:

  1. Dunno if I like those bows much. So love the jackets. I like the gothic candy.

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  2. There is a certain comfort in the style of design of this. Hope that's true.

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  3. very cool. i alwyas like how when you pick out your runway favourites, i can totally imagine you wearing them!

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  4. The leather jackets look so sumptuous. I like the styling a lot, I'm a sucker for Victorian mixed with street. Interesting necklines on the sweaters too.

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  5. These are so cool. I've always been interested in finding out more about Japanese fashion.

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  6. Whew, these looks make me wish I did androgyny better.

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  7. I'd love to be able to carry off the Gothic dandy look, but I think it helps to be six foot something and very slim! Some great looks here though - some trends still filtering through to the mainstream too.

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  8. so cool, particularly those wicked little bow ties...

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  9. wow, I have to say I really like this collection. I guess because I enjoy solids and different textures together... coolio!

    Hope you have an amazing weekend dear!

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  10. If only someone could dress slightly like that around here. Don't see that coming though. Great post!

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  11. These guys know how to dress! They need a date who can dress equally as elegant as well. For girls this means: glam, glam, and more glam. The first outfit deserves a well dress woman, maybe wearing something like this?:

    http://www.jovani.com/evening-dresses/152678-5238

    How beautiful is that..

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  12. The whole collection just seems to be this fabulous juxtaposition of hard and soft - old school dandy mixed with grunge. I adore this look, and I adore the entire collection. Now all we need, are some boys in the States to start dressing like this!

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  13. This collection is quite dapper, very fitting of your style :)

    Hope you're feeling better!

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  14. god the japanese are good!! i really love this and it even gives me inspiration. something about mens clothes really gives me ideas...

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  15. Très élégant et portable ce qui n'est pas négligeable.

    Thérèse

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