Mame Kurogouchi SS22 – Land

When the time came to start her Spring Summer 2022 collection, designer Maiko Kurogouchi was going through the Mame Kurogouchi archive, to prepare for the “10 Mame Kurogouchi” exhibition at the Nagano Prefectural Art Museum retracing the first decade of her label. When she returned to the studio, she started to paint not what she had seen but spring blossoms, their tender shapes perceptible under a wash of white paint. This became the basis for the collection, as she worked with ateliers to create textiles that would transcribe this.

This patient love and innovation based upon the wisdom of craft is also an idea that has blossomed over the first decade of Mame Kurogouchi. First, a complex jacquard in which the floral motif is overlaid with silky threads that gently blur the blooms. Then an iridescent ombré dyed silk jacquard with slit yarn threads, like a hazy impression of flowers shimmering in the high noon. Using the idea
of Itajime Shibori, previously used in Fall 2021, master craftspeople have pioneered a novel technique, by folding fabric with wooden sticks and patiently pouring dye onto the fabric, block by block. As colours collide and mingle, a natural and sensitive gradation is born. Linen, a material she remembered in the haze of memory, becomes a whisper that renders outlines with softness and beauty. Elsewhere, it’s minute beads, patiently threaded into crochet trims and knitwear that express the idea of glittering treasures and ephemeral raindrops.

The palette is an exploration of what colour the spring is, not in literal terms, but in the impression that remains in the mind through time: the tender pink of cherry blossoms turning the streets near-white, the contrast of a petal floating away in obsidian canal waters, the lilac gradient of sunset so delicate it is near-invisible yet boldly felt.

Shapes praise the female form, which Maiko Kurogouchi has been doing since Courbe, curve in French, the very first brand she launched, before Mame. One item bridges the brand’s first decade and the coming one: a jacket with an intricate juxtaposition of circles that create cutout effects. Nodding to one of her earliest designs, it makes its appearance here in a conversation between
the Maiko of then and who she has grown into.

Distilled across the collection, it becomes striking circular details that are as technically demanding as they are playful for the wearer. A neckline, sloping gently backwards, reveals the nape of the neck – a traditionally sensual gesture that roots her work even further, into the tradition of her homeland, where the rectangles of a kimono come to dialogue with the curves of the human form.
Continuing this idea of curves, the Spring Summer 2022 accessories of Mame Kurogouchi bring the delight of the unexpected to these serene silhouettes. An architectural sandal curves around the foot, secured but appearing to float. Crystal jewellery shines, like so many indistinct flowers reflecting sunlight on their petals through a whisper of fog. Crochet bags appear with beads subtly woven into them, echoing the dew of Nagano’s countryside but also the exquisite knitwear found in the collection.