For the first Parisian presentation of her brand Mame, Maiko Kurogouchi looked to Charlotte Perriand, the first woman designer to spend time in Japan, where she fell deeply in love with the country’s traditional arts and crafts. For the Japanese designer, too, this heritage exerts an attraction that influences her work, and the collection made good use of kimono fabrics, silk painting and embroideries, as well as a palette that ranged from indigo and mint green to taupe and tobacco.
Growing up in Nagano, Japan, a remote town best known for hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics, the designer was inspired by her surroundings. For prints and jacquards, she sketched the plants native to the region, and added transparent materials — PVC for bags or glass for jewelry — to symbolize icicles.
Despite being craft-heavy, it was a thoroughly modern wardrobe with an eclectic range of styles. Kurogouchi glanced on trends with a magpie eye, favoring long and lean trousers, smart denim concoctions, flowing tiered gowns, and statement outerwear like a coat inspired by traditional Japanese winter garments and which features tassels, braided leather and fur. She blended codes of sensuality from the East and the West, highlighting a collarbone here, or the nape of a neck there. “I don’t have perfect proportions myself, so I try to make my clothes into confidence-giving items,” she said, standing in front of pictures created with controversial artist Nobuyoshi Araki.
Trained at the prestigious Bunka fashion college, Kurogouchi spent three and a half years in Issey Miyake’s design department before branching out to launch Mame in 2010. She won the 2018 Fashion Prize of Tokyo, which includes sponsorship to show in the French capital.