Editor’s Pick: Mame Kurogouchi Spring 2019. The designer’s nostalgic collection from ‘The Diary’ series portrays graceful Japanese women of Shoen Uemura’s paintings.
Being a native who grew up in Nagano, Japan with a three years’ experience of working at the Issey Miyake studio on top of that, pretty much makes Mame Kurogouchi, or Mame, the expert for Japanese designs and handcrafts. The way Mame approaches fashion is by habitually getting the inspirations from her surroundings, and this time in particular, it was the matsuri, or summer festivals, that caught her attention, and her homage to Shoen Uemura, a Japanese female painter from the early 1900s who is known for her groundbreaking portrayal of regular working women in their everyday lives.
Her latest collection is taken from ‘The Diary’, a project that was done within three months’ time, which consists of personal notes, photographs and drawings of things that were seen and happened during that period, all documented in a black journal. It is a seemingly irrelevant assortment of pieces that celebrates everything in-between, from recurring genuine daily events, customs or practices, and a dreamlike state drawn from Mame’s imaginations. Marking her eight-year of being in the industry with her independent label, she unveiled yet another collection that oozes a familiar feeling of her previous ones, raw and nostalgic – as if something that came out of a drawing book.
It was a picturesque collection. Every single layer of fabric, color, styling, the whole atmosphere is a nod to Shoen Uemura’s paintings. Following the demure nature of Uemura’s artworks, a subdued palette of Wisteria violet, light black and brown, decorated the pieces. Pale streaks of purple monopolized the whole collection, and it worked. Models were seen walking delicately with clean, sleek top buns, wearing jewelries made of wild flower engravings, and kimono-like fabrics. A subtle tribute to Japanese ancestral traits, Mame makes a clever take on the traditional attires, by designing fresh twists of soft, feminine silhouettes through the use of light and transparent fabrics that are still voluminous and able to flawlessly trails down the runway. Flower prints and embroideries are three-dimensionally realized in the collection, mirroring the pressed flowers that exist in ‘The Diary’.
Wanting to depict the ambiguity of memories, Mame Kurogouchi has skillfully delivered an exquisite assemblage of the past and twisted it into the attire du jour. (Text Kirana Ardhia)