Beautiful People in the brainchild of Hidenori Kumakiri. Showing in Paris since 2017, the label was launched in Japan ten years before, to great success. Kuma, as his friends and entourage call him, is a deliciously skilled pattern cutter with the twisted mind of a joker. The clothes he creates – painstaking tours de force in technical invention and prowess – can be worn in a number of different ways: twisted, spliced, turned upside-down and inside-out. Kuma asks the wearer to be an active participant in the creation of a piece, turning the act of dressing into an amusing, ever evolving performance. Side-C is how Kuma defines his research, C being the hidden layer between A, the outside, and B, the lining of a garment. By bringing the in-between to the fore, something exciting, something new happens, every season.
S/S 21 is Side-C Vol.5. The collection is called Motional and is a reaction to the discombobulating reality we are all living. It is presented in video format, with a few nods to Japanese Noh theater in the choreography. The video is very dark in the beginning but ends in white as to signify elation and positivity.
Kuma, tell us about the collection.
The collection is about movement and emotions: this is why I called it Motional. Like pieces in a museum, we have been stuck inside our homes, unable to move yet endlessly moved by storms of emotions. I wanted to make clothes that would make you feel emotional in wearing them, because everyone is suffering from corona damage.
How does this translate, technically?
I turned Side-C into a dynamic system. Conventionally, pads and corsets are built-in between the outside and the inside lining of the garment to reinforce the silhouette and to create a superb proportion and ideal figure. Instead of using conventional pads or corset, I transformed it into an interconnected pockets-like structure that is filled with small beads. Side-C evolves from a stable system into a circular one which generates a flow within itself. The bustle silhouette dress may look like the one you would expect to see in the museum. However, when you sit, the beads in Side-C will flow with your movement, and in turn, transform the silhouette of the dress to cover your body. When you stand up again, the beads will flow back to the position of the bustle to create another silhouette.
There is an evident homage to Christian Dior’s New Look in the shapes.
Yes, and it is intentional. The New Look came after WWII and was an expression of optimism and rebirth. Coronavirus has been our war, so I wanted to express hope and optimism too. Also, we have been stuck in our homes like old dresses are stuck in the cases of a museum. I am bringing those dresses outside
There is also an element of domesticity: clothes that look like sofas, homely fabrics.
We have all been trapped home, one way or another, for a very long time. Domesticity is in the details: in the hats shaped like pillows; in the bed linens, cushions, tablecloth inspiring the choice of fabrics; in the striped patterns and the toile de jouy. One of the main inspirations is cushions and the sofa, which is comfortable enough to ruin people. The collection is made by fusing it with clothes.
Tell us about the volumes.
Volumes are big, flowing, emotive, trapped by smock and then released. Motion follows emotions, as nothing is static.
What about the video?
I wanted to send a message of optimism. In the movie, beads flow everywhere, mixed in color to represent the spread of malaise and contagion everywhere. In the end, beads are only white: a symbol of hope, joy and restart; of a cure and a vaccine.