Mame Kurogouchi Speaks to Changing Japanese Cultural Attitudes in SS2019 Presentation

By Taraneh Azar, Runway Correspondent
Photography courtesy of Vogue Runway

Using the skills she honed during her time at Issey Miyake, Mame Kurogouchi integrated traditional Japanese garments with global trends to document a changing cultural mindset at Tokyo Fashion Week 2019.

The collection spotlighted delicate silks, laces, and fringes juxtaposed with intricate PVC handbags and casual footwear. Styles featuring thick sweater dresses walked in between floor-sweeping silk kimonos and yukata in lilac and pastels. Silk pants and flowing gauzy embroidered tops were followed by elegant gowns which combined the yukata’s wide sleeves with the kimono’s structured form, celebrating the traditional Japanese garments.

Pairing these time-honored silhouettes with simple sandals, modernized versions of the traditional geta, spoke to Kurogouchi’s ability to blend tradition with rapidly changing youth attitudes. The stiff plastic handbags, in line with the trend that has swept collections and presentations globally, ironically resembled the work of ancient and intricate kiriko glass. As part of a culture that exists in flux between traditional and progressive attitudes, Kurogouchi’s styling of intricate Japanese handcraft with timely Western accessories spoke to the ways traditionally feminine visual elements manifest in such a liminal space.

With her collection, Kurogouchi paid homage to elements which originated in the Japanese countryside, and presented her perspective on femininity in a changing global landscape. The balance between such varied stylistic and cultural elements throughout the collection spoke to Kurogouchi’s recognition of a Japanese youth culture which has evolved to exist between and within times, worlds, and global cultures.