The rich crafts heritage of Japan continues to be a fount of inspiration for Maiko Kurogouchi, who this time looked to fragments she dug up near Arita, a town in the southwestern island of Kyushu known for its porcelain.
These provided the color palette of white and blues, motifs of plants and stylized landscapes, as well as techniques such as embossing, which she successfully transposed onto crisp cottons. The field so entranced her that she also developed the vessels for her first perfume, slated to launch in Japan next month.
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In the Mame Kurogouchi world, the artisanal is never far: finishing a number of looks are ceramic buttons and accessories. These were handmade by the designer herself with the support of Arita-based artist Mayumi Hamano.
This also served as a quiet homage to Issey Miyake — Kurogouchi spent three-and-a-half years in Issey Miyake’s design department — who had also called on a noted ceramist for buttons early in his career, she explained.
But make no mistake, there’s no backward-glancing nostalgia here. Cutting an elegant silhouette remains the designer’s stock in trade, but she’s also attuned to the moment’s desire for chic comfort.
This saw her cut trousers wide in the leg and high on the waist; revisit blouses as blowsy shirts; use sweatshirt material for pencil skirts, and offer curve-skimming dresses with striking necklines made in jersey and 3Dknits.
Denim was a big focus of the season, with jeans and cropped jackets a more practical choice while digging than the silks she usually reaches for, she joked.
And being real doesn’t mean being dour. Case in point: a pair of kittens she dotted in a traditional landscape jacquard, her way of saying that you can be real and real funny, too.
Launch Gallery: Mame Kurogouchi RTW Spring 2024
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