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    Embrace Life


    The family of Kurogouchi used to grow silkworms during her grandmother's days. Silkworms were treated as a sacred being with respect as they brought business to the family. Silk is considered to be a normalised material, but back then, it would take 3000 cocoons in order to weave a piece of Kimono garment.

    While, Silk has had a special place in Mame Kurogouchi's design, she has come to think without doing it themselves, she couldn't understand the challenge of weaving a textile using cocoons. This realisation drove her to plan growing 30 silkworms at her atelier with the team, and name them Shiro (white).

    Silkworms are sensitive and delicate beings. If one gets sick, it affects others. In order to turn cocoons into yarns, it would have to be consistent which is why producing silk on commercial basis is challenging.

    Newborn silkworms are so small that are almost invisible but through five molting process, they become 25 times longer and 10,000 times heavier. And before it starts to blow fibres into the air and around them, its body becomes transparent. Yarns came out of Shiro's mouth had sparkles, reflecting lights around them. Kurogouchi wanted to make a garment that would wrap one's body gently by breathing soft light into the body, just like how Shiro transformed itself by wrapping its body with shiny transparent yarns. She went to a weaver in Komatsu Ishikawa, the only weaver that can produce silk jacquard, and came away with a delicate sheet of textile she was looking for. Using silk and shinny flat yarn for the warp and silk yarn for the weft, weaving together, and two types of the jacquard textiles were made thanks to the idea of leaving the shiny yarn uncut. The black one provoked the image of a dark night in Amami, brightened by nocturnal insects.

    One of the most special pieces in this collection is a dress, made up of a transparent silk fabric, double layered silk underneath, Kiryu embroidery and prints of plants seen through them just like Kurogouchi saw them behind the glass window. Inspired by Shiros who left us and cocoons, this dress was Kurogouchi's answers to the wonders of “Embrace”.

    After presenting the collection in Paris last November, Kurogouchi and her team tackled on spinning Shiro's fibres into yarns. After boiling cocoons in hot water, soaking them, the end of yarn came out of cocoons. By spinning seven yarns into one thread. Shining yarns are so thin individually, but when spun together, it becomes surprisingly strong. This experience taught the team how much work, attention, and time and energy were put to make a silk yarn.