Mame Kurogouchi’s delicate cocoon
Sep 25, 2019
Mame Kurogouchi opened Paris Fashion Week with a collection based on the concept “Embrace” and offered an elegant wardrobe of light layers and naïve sensibilities.
Mame designer Maiko Kurogouchi, who has previously held two presentations in Paris, chose the old school building of the University of Paris’ School of Pharmacy as the stage for her official runway debut. A dusk wind blew through the corridors and light clothing floated like fluttering feathers to reveal its complex layers beneath.
This season, Kurogouchi’s concept was philosophical and looked at “a fusion of different values, different cultures, different times” and “trying to update the modern concept of beauty”.
The show’s opening look styled a vivid green top, reminiscent of summer greenery, with fluid pants. The satin and lace top was a classic Mame creation and featured a textured floral motif. Organic white and green hues followed with an asymmetric dress that delicately wrapped the body and hung from spaghetti straps and a satin tailored jacket with dramatically inflated sleeves and a feminine finish. Sporty inner-wear including bralets and cycle shorts added a sense of modernity to the collection.
The most eye-catching part of this season’s collection was its layered mesh fabric. Taking inspiration from crow protection, horticultural netting, and fishing nets, the mesh textile appeared on tops and dresses as well as a thin veil covering an entire look.
The second half of the show featured skirts and jackets crafted from multiple layers of film-like silk material and inspired by the traditional Japanese art of packing with an eye-catching couture-like presence. Other notable items included a mint green and beige tailored spring coat with long cuffs and a generously draped jacquard blouson with an oversized silhouette that appeared to delicately “embrace” the body with air.
The collection also featured a new take on the brand’s classic PVC bag with fringing and various motifs. Mame Kurogouchi also collaborated with Tod’s on the shoes this season for a selection of pointed-toe pumps in black, navy, and white.
The show was the second time that Mame put on a fully-fledged runway show (instead of a presentation) following its showcase for “At Tokyo” in March last year. Kurogouchi replied that she was “not particularly conscious” when asked about the difference between a presentation and a runway show but said, “I was nervous as I could only show it once,” where presentations are put on several times in a day. However, Kurogouchi was not worried about her Paris runway debut and showed a calm appearance.
“More than ever, I relaxed and challenged myself,” she said. “We create things that take a lot of time to make so we want people to feel the richness of the clothing in a relaxed atmosphere.”
In November, Kurogouchi plans to launch a garment business named Atelier Project in collaboration with Taro Horiuchi. Kurogouchi’s sincere commitment to “Made in Japan”, which does not end with trends and marketing, was clearly apparent in her latest collection.
Although there is no dearth of young designers asking pertinent questions about society and politics, there are also many women who are sympathetic to the worldview and Japanese sensibilities of Mame’s personal and introverted creations. A cocoon is simultaneously a shell that protects its contents within and a step towards the next stage of growth. Whether or not it will “emerge” overseas, the collection presented an array of future trends.
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