Mame Kurogouchi opens Paris Fashion Week in the shadow of the coronavirus

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Isabelle Crossley
Feb 25, 2020
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Mame Kurogouchi by Maiko Kurogouchi kicked off Paris Fashion Week’s fall/ winter 2020 season with a collection entitled ‘Embracing,’ held at the Faculté de Pharmacie de Paris.

The brand, which has recently garnered much attention through its collaboration with Tod’s,  managed to interpret Japanese manufacturing in a poetic and wearable manner and put on an emotional show even in a climate where both consumption and industry-wide sectors such as production and logistics are being forcibly reviewed due to the recent coronavirus outbreak. The brand managed to interpret Japanese manufacturing in a poetic and wearable manner and put on an emotional show.

Mame Kurogouchi - FW 2020 - Paris - Photo: Mame Kurogouchi

Milan Fashion Week saw the shadow of the coronavirus lengthen as the event launched last week. The irony may not have been lost on the buyers and editors that escaped to Paris, fearing the virus, that Mame’s show was held at the University of Paris’ pharmacy faculty. In the venue’s courtyard, a statue of 18th century pharmacist Antoine-Augustin Parmentier looked on.
Following on from last season, Kurogouchi deepened her theme of ‘Embracing’ with a collection that featured knitwear reminiscent of traditional woven baskets. Evolving from the delicate ‘Cocoon’ theme of summer 2020, the colour palette was deep and warm this season with hues resembling fallen leaves. 

All-black looks such as a sleek camisole dress and an elegant coat dress were followed by a white blouse and dress featuring embroidery using thick cord. When combined with dark brown textiles, the aesthetic was a sophisticated take on folklore.

Mame Kurogouchi - FW 2020 - Paris - Photo: Mame Kurogouchi

The collection featured Mame’s signature silhouette of dropped shoulders and long, flowing sleeves but also saw the addition of mini skirts and dresses. A light yet voluminous jacquard top was paired with macrame-style lace tights. For footwear, ankle boots, lace sling-back pumps, and sandals were produced in collaboration with Tod’s again this season. The sandals were created with Tod’s incorporate traditional Japanese kogin zashi quilting from the Aomori region into the brand’s traditional leather craftsmanship.
The show’s standout designs were a series of coats that featured linen lace woven like baskets in the finale. The lace, which was a key element of the collection, was created with hemp cords made by a shoelace manufacturer in Japan’s Kanto region which were sewn onto knitwear to create a uniquely constructed three dimensional effect. 
“I felt that I was embraced by the process of making clothes,” said designer Maiko Kurogouchi. “I want people who wear the clothes to share the same feeling.” Whilst remaining introverted and artisanal, the collection was truly conscious of the modern woman.
In November 2019, Kurogouchi founded a garment manufacturing business with Taro Horiuchi called Atelier Project. Although the project has just launched, it is pioneering a new approach to the garment production process ‘Made in Japan’.  
On March 6, Mame Kurogouchi plans to open its first flagship store in Tokyo, with the business appearing to be growing steadily.

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