Monday 18 July 2016

The Cosmos & Nature in Yuima Nakazato's Futuristic Collection

Shimmering, holographic origami with transparent, prosthetic arms at Yuima Nakazato's innovative presentation in Paris. Cover picture and all photographs by Elli Ioannou
Inspired by the cosmos and nature, neo-futurist Japanese designer Yuima Nakazato showed for the first time as a guest at Paris Haute Couture week. The designer's shimmering, otherworldly collection of holographic origami gleamed from the darkness in the depths of the Palais De Tokyo, creating kinetic architectural sculptures, reports our special correspondent Elli Ioannou

Glimmering, kinetic architectural designs
EXISTENTIALISM, altruism, mysticism, science and philosophy are not subjects often tackled in works of fashion. But recent collections by innovative designers are expressing a new approach to the creative process, exploring new and deeper meanings in their work. 

Often the clothes are not separate from the human form but rather an extension of the body, like a second skin. Many of these ideas are at the heart of Japanese designer Yuima Nakazato’s work presented at his AW16/17 Hate Couture show in Paris. The designer says at the basis of his design theory are three elements: the cosmos, the future, and nature: “With Fashion we can imagine and create the future of humans".

 Iridescent, shimmering colours inspired by Iceland
Descending three flights of stairs into the belly of Paris' Palais de Tokyo for Nakazato's first haute couture show, there is art graffiti covering the walls and it feels like entering the dim internal sanctum 
of a modern-day pyramid. 
A trianglular shaped motif runs through Yuima
Nakazato's presentation, beginning with the fluid runway's shape: two yellow-taped lines converging into an incomplete 'V' marked the areas where guests stand. 

Dramatic blue lighting in the industrial space of polished concrete frames stairs at either end. Adjusting to the dim surroundings, you can just make out the photographers' pit already overflowing and looking more like a human installation under the azure lights. An avant-garde crowd slowly funnels in, some standing behind the yellow lines, while others choose a higher perspective from the stairs and balcony.

 Glassy, vivid make-up created an otherworldly look
The pre-show backdrop feels and looks a lot more like a Berlin club than a Paris Haute Couture show. 
The designer's new collection is inspired by a recent trip to Iceland. Nakazato creates a powerful otherworldly sense that captures the country's snowy landscape. 

The holographic textiles are woven origami-like, shimmering under the light, to create kinetic architectural sculptures. The choice of colour palette, including iridescent ice blues, greens and purples and the shape of the garments in an A-line form created using 3D technology, all add  to the shimmering strangeness. Elongated body proportions reflecting ancient Japanese deities also seem imbued with of Avatar–like characteristics.

 Long, faux arms enhanced Nakazato's futuristic collection
The models’ arms were made to appear extra long using blue prosthetic arm extensions whilst others actually had knee-length glass arms. 
The seemingly air-brushed make-up suggesting David Bowies’ Major Tom, along with the dramatic lighting and the models' robotic motion with glassy-eyed expressions all reinforce Nakazato’s sci-fi inspired cosmos. 

The models final stance ended in a symbolic triangle shape. The cosmos, futurism and human existence are all themes in the recent presentations in Paris by Issey Miyake and Yuima Nakazato, both bound by their common thread of Japanese culture. 

Like Miyake before him, Nakazato is experimenting with the construction of materials using new technology which is at the core of his design process. He wants the couture collection with it's methods and materials to be made available immediately in stores. Nakazato is planning a new system of combining of couture and ready-to-wear which he believes is the future of fashion.

Nakazato has been called a neo-futurist in fashion design, one of the artists and architects who believe in the future of cities, their capacity to offer emotional experiences, experiments with new materials and new technologies to provide a better quality of life. Nakazato's presentation is the first by a Japanese designer at Paris Haute Couture since 2004, as a guest of the Fédération Française de la Couture. A Japanese designer has not been on the event’s official calendar since fashion pioneer Hanae Mori retired 12 years ago. Nakazato is a guest member at the haute couture, an honour bestowed on up-and-coming artists who have passed a rigorous screening process.

 Designer Yuima Nakazato backstage at his show in Paris
The designer was born in Tokyo 30 years ago and says he learned much about the freedom of expressive art from from his sculptor father and mother, a metal carver. 

His family home is filled with giant art objects and made a strong contrast to strict Japanese schooling. With artists as parents, Nakazato was surrounded by art from early childhood and he says that the years of seeing and watching his parents' work, performing arts, stage design, and costumes have all have influenced his work. Nakazato was the youngest Japanese to graduate from the Fashion Department Master’s Course at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp.

 Avant-garde boots finished the collection
So avant-garde were his shoe designs during his degree show that they were acquired by the Antwerp Mode Museum (MoMu) for their permanent collection. He was also awarded the Innovation Award by Ann Demeulemeester for his graduation collection and won the International Talent Support (ITS) Fashion Competition held in Italy, one of the two largest fashion contests in the world, in 2008 and 2009. The following year, Lady Gaga wore his Black Fire Dress in Japan. After graduating, Nakazato launched his own brand in 2009 and three years later was opening Tokyo Fashion Week.

French Haute Couture is evolving and expanding by acknowledging designers such as Yuima Nakazato who push boundaries in technology, design and culture. The Fédération Française de la Couture is recognizing and fostering emerging talent which offers a new perspective compared to couture collections of the past and provides a thought-provoking antidote to some of the bigger commercial brands more anodyne collections.

Scroll down to see highlights of the collection 
Yuima Nakazato says his designs are based on three elements: the cosmos, the future and nature. 

The designer won awards for his early work even as a student and has designed a costume for Lady Gaga

 Nakazato uses new technology and traditional Japanese handcrafts to create his work

The designers shoes are already in the permanent collection of Antwerp's Museum of Modern Art

French Haute Couture is evolving and expanding by acknowledging designers such as Yuima Nakazato who push boundaries in technology, design and culture.

The designer was born in Tokyo 30 years ago and says he learned much about the freedom art offered from his sculptor father and metal carver mother. 

Backstage in Paris dressing a model for the AW16/17 presentation

In the belly of the Palais de Tokyo, guests wait for the show to begin 

The guests at the show in Paris all had their own colourful style

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