By hosting her runway show at Chelsea’s legendary Tunnel nightclub, which closed its doors in 2001, Hanako Maeda wanted to highlight the inspiration behind her pretty collection.
The designer looked at the Nineties’ club scene in the U.S. and Japan, which not only influenced her choice of colors and materials, including PVC and bold tones juxtaposed with nocturnal hues, but also resulted in a certain experimental vibe. There was nothing too rebellious about the collection, but there certainly was a creative edge mixed with charming sophistication. For example, bright orange PVC was crafted into a corset belt layered over an elegant off-the-shoulder frock with roomy sleeves, and into a polished trenchcoat worn with a nylon bow blouse tucked into a belted trouser skirt.
A Nineties’ vibe resonated not only in the yellow tartan crafted for a tailored trenchcoat and a chic double-breasted blazer cut longer in the back that was inspired by the uber-recognizable plaid suit worn by Alicia Silverstone in the iconic 1995 movie “Clueless” — one of Maeda’s favorite films — but also in the baby pink and indigo Japanese denim designs. Ranging from relaxed jackets and bootleg five-pockets to hyper-feminine bustier tops, they were embellished with sweet bows, a nod to Kawaii, the Japanese culture of cuteness.
In a celebration of her Eastern origins and her Western education, Maeda unveiled a gown, crafted from a practical waterproof parachute taffeta, embellished with precious kimono-inspired embroideries of a phoenix.
With her signature design approach that’s rooted in an assertive femininity injected with discreet sensuality, Maeda confirms her status as one of the most interesting talents on the New York fashion scene.