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  • 5. Texture 16.04.2021

    “A lace curtain for this room, for this room a tulip pattern”, Maiko Kurogouchi dove into her imagination for fabric design or items for this collection, as if she was moving into a new house. As many garments include lace or sheer materials, there is one fabric in particular Kurogouchi shows affection towards, the ’Blackout Curtain.’ Stripes were expressed by weaving, and on the surface are small granular features. This fabric was created from the image of silk noil which has a rough texture, a type of silk Kurogouchi favours. Silk noil usually used for rice bags, are produced from the unevenness in the silk produced from silkworm, giving a handcraft feel. However, silk noil’s difficulty to care, is difficult to use for garments worn in the summer. With all in mind, Kurogouchi decided to create light fabric, rich in texture and lust similar to silk noil.

    The silhouette inspiration came from the tied blackout curtains at the side. The curtain giving off a stereoscopic feel, was expressed using tacking and gathering. The fabric designed while thinking of silk provides a rich texture to the daily life.

  • 4. Curtain calls 09.04.2021

    Limited to travelling, the world seemed smaller, but at times like this one finds beauty in its surroundings. Maiko Kurogouchi discovered that there were various windows, with different appearances. Near the house, remained an empty car mechanic factory, as if time had stopped. The one thing that remained was a tulip patterned curtain, catching Kurogouchi’s eye. She says curtains are interesting. Even with time, for Kurogouchi, her grandmother, and people in the car mechanic factory, what one finds attractive are the same.

    Gaining inspiration from the nostalgic tulip pattern, Kurogouchi decided it as the motif of the fabric and drew the pattern. Using jacquard loom to weave fine mesh, twisting warp and weft of different strength, the shrinkage created a bulging tulip pattern. What she imagined was a somewhat nostalgic curtain.

    The curtain also provided a hint for the silhouette. The office close, fitting not possible, Kurogouchi wore the curtain around herself, on her hip, and by coincidence found beauty in the tack or drape created. She made sure to keep snaps, and sketched out the design. The random lines created by the curtain wrapped around the body were expressed by uneven width pleats, also adding volume when the wind swifts by. The fabric created, safe from wrinkles with quick drying and breathability, changed itself into garments that could we worn even on hot summer days.

  • 3. Between the worlds 26.03.2021

    Curtains intrigued Maiko Kurogouchi, as it conveyed another world or space on the other side of the curtain, the sense of people living. What Kurogouchi enjoyed, was imagining what was beyond the curtain. Who was living on the other side, what kind of life they spent. Due to limitations on travelling, unable to apply the usual process in designing, she matched fabric to imaginary windows or thought of fabrics to create, hoping to design garments that would bring the same mysterious sense of the curtains.

    Spring awakening, Kurogouchi arranged flowers in her room using Lily and Iris, celebrating the seasons Japan has to offer. Seeing the flowers with the swaying curtain, it reminded her of the scenery in a Japanese garden with lilies and iris coexisting, deciding to express this with numerous embroideries. Embroideries were made in different locations all around Japan, such as Fukui prefecture and Gunma prefecture, fusing the different sceneries the embroideries created into one garment. Unlike past collections where embroideries were layered on the fabric, holes were made on the fabric to create the transparency to convey the warmth of the person across the other side of the curtain. The creation of a curtain timeless to the wearer, beautifully dresses the wearer as the window was.

  • 2. Colour of memory 26.03.2021

    The memory of the curtain, laying against the window, for an extended amount of time, soaking up the sunlight, tinged with yellow. The silk-nylon jacquard is woven with the longing for the passing of time.

    Applied to the weft are the finest silk, double layered to create a thin but a swelled texture. The warp uses thread called Sparkling Nylon, where a triangular fiber is woven into the thread. The fabric at first, may look plain, but once light shines the fabric it reflects and glistens like the surface on the water.

    While Maiko Kurogouchi stayed indoors, she pressed the flowers she had arranged into her notebook, weaving the pattern into the fabric. As the light shines, and the wind blows, the flower designs appear to dance.

    In search of the tinged yellow curtain in ones own memory, Kurogouchi discussed countlessly with the factory, dying the fabric over and over. But as through the challenge, Kurogouchi realised that it didn’t have to replicate the ideal colour she was chasing after. As the clothes will spend time with the person, it will absorb the memories together, slowly but surely wearing its own colour of time.

  • 1. Introduction – The window and the curtain 19.03.2021

    The past 2 collections were based on the concept of ‘Embrace’, a sensation Maiko Kurogouchi herself experienced of being embraced in a basket, from raising the silkworm ‘Shiro-chan’.This time, the designer chose ‘windows’ as the next theme.

    It started when Maiko was thinking about windows at the start of 2020, when a friend gifted a book, ‘The Confused Window (Tomadou Mado)’ by Toshiyuki Horie.’ COVID-19 had spread and all travels were at a halt, unable to continue her journey, Maiko Kurogouchi looked back at snaps from her travels and realized a lot featured windows. She wondered and thought to herself, why she took snaps of windows. What drew her was the story of the person living behind the curtain, or reminiscing the curtain left behind and its old resident.

    Curtains are one of the first items ready when one moves into a new house. And when the resident leaves, most of the time, they are forgotten. The curtains in white that have spent time with the resident, absorb the memory which created unique gradations to each. The question was how to express this by weaving and dying techniques.

    Unable to travel, Maiko Kurogouchi spent a lot more time at home. Gazing at the world outside from the window within, she remembered that these were the windows she had been seeing. And she was reminded of her days she spent as a child at her grandmother’s, where she enjoyed the lace curtains on the window exposed to the westering sun creating shadows.

    For this collection, facing a hint of nostalgia, Maiko Kurogouchi imagined a ‘window’ person being dressed in curtains, where one could flutter in the wind and with each flip/turn the wearer able to open a new door.

    Items that became the symbol of this collection were the gown and dress, made out of original laces ordered from a curtain factory in Kiryu, Gunma prefecture. The flowers arranged while staying at home were woven into the lace, using a domestically rare sewing machine. The machine being able to weave large patterns without distortion were shaped into the garment itself, where each piece was then heat cut by the artisan's hand. With this, the delicate cut around the collar or scallop cut sleaves were created, which connect the memories and Maiko Kurogouchi into one piece.