“Clothing that caters to the 21st century, and that fosters a dialogue between nature and the city.” That was the premise for Fumito Ganryu’s debut collection under his full name, as one of the few designers from the Comme des Garçons stable to have gone independent. (The Japanese designer, who joined the company in 2004, worked on Junya Watanabe’s production team for four years before being attributed his own line, Ganryu, in 2007. He parted ways with the company in 2017, with the line shuttering.)
His next show will take place in Paris, where he plans to remain. But to generate some buzz, capitalizing on the momentum of the category he’s best known for, streetwear, what better a launch pad than the opening guest act of Pitti Uomo?
Ganryu showed on Wednesday at the Frittelli Contemporary Art gallery in Florence’s suburban Novoli district, a day ahead of the headlining guest act Craig Green, a designer with a similar point of view.
The underground show space was the perfect setting for a collection that read more abstract and futuristic in direction than the darker mood Ganryu is known for.
The designer, with his deconstructed styling, built a fantasy world. (Think Neoprene hoodies tied at the waist of looks to create a seamless apron effect or a yellow jacket attached to the front of another yellow jacket that gave a weird surrealistic feel.) As well as on the accessories: the look of the sandals crafted from clear plastic tubes was echoed in the plastic straps used to secure garments to the models’ bodies and the crude silicon ties used to hold the white sci-fi collapsed mohawks in place.
But when pulled apart, these were straightforward, easy-to-wear pieces.
The opening expanded Neoprene black and white hoodies with their monastic Jedi-robe airs underscored the future-wear vibe while playing on the gender-neutral trend, although the line is positioned as men’s. More fluid versions worn as total looks with sweatshirt dresses and supersized culottes in a fleecy cotton looked super comfy.
The overall look was a bit clinical with a gentle side to it. Standouts included a soft pink pajama track pant worn with a hooded silk jacket in a darker pink and blue duster in a light fluid fabric that was dreamy while Ganryu spun a more tailored twist on a navy workwear blouson with a stricter cut and formal collar.
The meters of stiff quick-dry Neoprene — from the bright synthetic sweatshirts to pants with cuffs — and the soundtrack of piano intermingling with a dripping tap underscored the main storyline of a design that allows comfort in the city but interacts with nature — this season’s element being water. (One bright green T-shirt bore the very word.) The contrast of natural indigo-dyed fabrics nodding to Japanese tradition and urban synthetic fabrics in bright shades, also supported the theme nicely.
For sure, Ganryu much like Green is creating fashion at the dawn of the Anthropocene epoch. But just as nothing was overdesigned here, the messages came through quietly.
As a fashion outsider, Ganryu in going solo is taking a chance. But in this collection balancing individuality and commercial viability, this cult underground talent proved his potential to go overground.