Someday, I’d like to make what I consider to be ultimate clothing; ignoring cost and efficiency. For the key piece, I would choose a coat. My criteria would be that the clothes be fashionable, charming and attractive, and also functional; they’d have considerable endurance and last for eternity; along with any other factor I deem necessary, even if the clothing’s price were to rise outrageously. By any other factor, I mean not only one with merit but also “demerit” if I found it necessary. For example, adding some functions may increase a garment’s weight, some decorations could bring beauty as a plus but also poor functioning as a minus. A new element and idea always bring both. Flawless clothing is like a flawless human being: I wonder if a flawless human even exists… and if it does, I wonder if we would want to associate with it? In a sense, flawless humans might be castrated. Like roses whose thorns are cut because they are dangerous, or lilies whose pollen is stripped away in case it stains something, or grapes that are designed to be seedless in case the seeds get in the way of eating the grapes. At any rate, I’d like the have the freedom to make the kind of clothing that I visualize as being attractive and “ultimate garments,” unbound by any constraints. And I would not like to make clothing that looks like I’d gotten their priorities wrong or ignored their original beauty and the attraction it brings. Nor would I like to make clothing that was designed passively, because I was afraid of attracting any complaints or trouble.

A movie director once said that, “movies today only know how much audience they draw. That’s what movies, like amusement parks, are hailed for more than anything else. In fact, we must continue to make movies that we can discuss for a long time after seeing them.” Indeed, nowadays we look at how many followers, friends, customers and support we are getting. However, is getting as much support and as many viewers as possible really the best way to go? We are living in a very sensitive period for complaints and trouble. But, I wonder, are things that are harmless, happy, and peaceful really attractive? Things that don’t make people feel bad about being comfortable with blending into the masses, things that don’t impose a burden or effort on people, and things that have gotten rid of the slightest element that could create trouble or complaints for the wearer? I wonder.

When I think about the moment my keen interest in fashion was awakened, I believe it was when I bought a YOHJI coat for 80,000 yen at the YOHJI YAMAMOTO boutique in Aoyama. It was a ladies coat, not men’s; an asymmetrical coat in light gray and ecru with a two-toned collar. I often wore it in winter. Of course, the price very expensive for me, as I was still a student. I’d never bought such an expensive garment, which is why I still remember the moment when I paid for it. Whenever I wore the coat, it cheered me up, reconfirming the feeling that it was digging up the me who lived in obscurity. Yet it wasn’t very comfortable to wear. It was eccentric and showy, it wasn’t lightweight, and it had a big silhouette, with plenty of punch. Yet, whenever I put it on, I felt like I was showing my spirit. That’s why the coat was so special for me. And I couldn’t help feeling something like a sense of mission whenever I wore it.

I once read in a fashion magazine that, “Sometimes, to wear powerful clothes that give off a feeling of something being wrong, gives us a recognition of our existence and reconfirms the relationship between society and us.” The YOHJI coat was exactly that. The article also said that, “When they’re wearing something comfortable, people never think twice about the garment.” Hence, “To be truly free is not to make the existence of clothing disappear from our thoughts.”

For this latest collection, we printed the new pattern on velvet, but it was not easy. Cutting the fabric was difficult, but the hardest thing of all was sewing, as the length of the pile made sewing difficult as the velvet moved around and made exact movements impossible. It is obvious that sewing with velvet and some other kinds of fabric is taboo, as not being able to sew precisely is a no-no in the fashion world. But we dared to do it. And we already knew that we’d have a headache when production time came around. But that was the new collection I had envisioned. We also used double-faced wool melton, in which the two faces are attached by threads, using the technique of reversible finishing of hand sewing, and cutting the attaching threads patiently between fabrics. That, too, gave us a headache.

Sometimes we ask ourselves why we make clothing that uses costly, risky, and difficult-to-handle fabrics. Sometimes, we understand the feeling of wanting to make clothes that pose no risk.

When I worked for YOHJI YAMAMOTO, I still remember the words YOHJI used to describe how certain clothes were truly beautiful in a picture he had seen. It was a picture of war refugees moving in a line across a mountain in the severe cold in Eastern Europe during World War 2. The clothes he was talking about were the ones that the refugees were wearing. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the actual picture, but I have pondered what clothing those people may have been wearing. Those refugees who had lost everything, taking only a few bags that they could carry with them. They hadn’t made the choice to be in that situation, so what kind of clothes had they chosen to put on? I think the clothes were worth their lives. I heard that Coco Chanel had only three pieces of clothing at the end, they were like her last clothes. They were so beautiful in my imagination.

I don’t mean that I don’t need support from many people, but if I could choose only one garment, I would want to choose such garments, worth their lives.

Someday, I hope I can make the kind of clothing that humans would choose when they are starting on a journey, the moment when they decide to live with their coming future, the moment they meet a situation in which they have to wonder about losing everything.

Isshi KANAMARU 2016.3



自分がファッションに刮目させられた瞬間を思い起こすと、それは青山の Y’s SUPERPOSITION (現YOHJI YAMAMOTO)で、ヨウジの8万のコートを買った時だったと思います。メンズではなくレディースのコートで、ライトグレーとエクリュのツートンカラーのアシンメトリーのコート。冬によく着てました。勿論、当時学生だった自分にはそれは相当の金額でそんな高価な買い物など過去にしたことがなく、その対価を支払った瞬間のことさえも覚えています。そのコートは着用する度に、世の中に埋もれている自分を掘り起こしてくれるかのように、自分自身を再認識させてくれて、自分も頑張るんだという気持ちにもさせてくれました。そしてそれは決して着やすいコートではありませんでした。デザインは変わっててやけに目立つし、オーヴァーサイズなので軽くなくやけに迫力があるし、着る度、ある意味気合いが必要でした(笑)。でもそうだったからこそ、そのコートは自分には特別でした。そして着ている時は、何か、使命感みたいなものを感じずにはいられませんでした。




以前ヨウジヤマモトで働いていた頃のこと。第二次世界大戦の最中の、確か東ヨーロッパの国を追われ極寒の山中を連なって移動している難民達の写真だったと思います。その民衆達が着ている服が本当に美しいと、山本耀司さんが云っていたのを覚えています。自分はそう訊いただけでその写真を実際に拝見する機会はありませんでしたが、今でも時々、その写真の服がどんな服だったのだろうか、と想いを巡らすことがあります。何もかもを失い、必要最小限の荷物しか持てず、難民にならざろうえなかった人逹が、これからの人生の伴侶として選んだ服とは。それは、きっとその人達にとって今までの人生と同じくらいの魅力と価値を持っている服で、きっと人生と対価する服であるのだろうと思うのです。ココ シャネルが最後には自身の服を3枚しか所有してなかったと訊いたことがあります。きっとそのような服なのだろうと。それはたぶん自分の想像を超える美しい服だったと思うのです。