DRAMA CLASS: “Today a dream comes true,” Tadashi Yanai told WWD at an intimate performance of Kabuki theater Thursday night at Uniqlo’s Marais flagship in Paris, which the president and chief executive of Fast Retailing, Uniqlo’s owner, put together to help launch the chain’s first Kabuki-inspired collection.
“Kabuki is traditional Japanese entertainment and a pop-cultural phenomenon; it combines both innovation and traditional culture,” Yanai said. It’s a duality he wished to translate into Uniqlo’s offering, noting that when Kabuki emerged some 400 years, it was considered “cutting-edge fashion.”
The collection includes a series of printed T-shirts, scarves and lounge pants inspired by original stage costumes, ushered in with an arresting performance by Kabuki star Ichikawa Ennosuke IV.
“He’s considered the George Clooney of Japanese theater,” one guest murmured, while others, including designers Christophe Lemaire and Véronique Leroy, as well as French film producer Eric Altmayer, took in an intense combination of unusual choreography and a rich gamut of facial expressions, which also found their way into the capsule’s print motifs.
“New Kabuki theater is booming,” Yanai enthused.