Fumito Ganryu unveils his new brand at Pitti Uomo
It was an early start on Wednesday morning for those hoping to attend the first show of Fumito Ganryu's new eponymous label, which he had chosen to stage in Novoli, an industrial neighbourhood in northwestern Florence, at the Frittelli Arte Contemporanea museum. Here, the Japanese designer, who is launching his solo project this season after thirteen years at Comme des Garçons, unveiled a spring-summer 2019 collection with no shortage of visual impact.
It was amid an oddly welcoming, almost intimate atmosphere in the aseptic basements of this modern building that Fumito Ganryu presented his new pieces, accompanied by an oriental melody punctuated by the sound of water drops hitting the ground. Indeed, water was at the heart of this collection, represented by the loose, flowing clothes but also by the use of neoprene, which put one in mind of divers' suits, and – perhaps less subtly – by the word "water" itself, which was printed in slim black capital letters on immaculately white t-shirts. Loose shorts that were made from an ultra-light nylon and could double up as swimming trunks also fed into this aquatic theme.
There was also a spiritual vein running through the whole collection, which featured a number of monochrome looks in neutral colours such as white, black and blue denim. At times, with their eyes hidden by the hoods of long tunics that channelled monastic habits, and sandals on their feet, the models looked like monks. And floor-length pieces were everywhere; in coats but also in oversized jogging pants and culottes resembling hakama, traditional Japanese trousers.
Everything was graphic and perfectly constructed: zips and pockets were fused into fabrics, while a number of thoughtful details made pieces more comfortable. The zips of one jacket opened sideways, while transparent plastic straps were used to secure extra clothes onto models' bodies, appearing here and there like accessories or safety devices, redefining silhouettes.
Flashes of bright colours, such as red, yellow, green and electric blue, also put in an appearance, shaking up this otherwise sombre wardrobe and giving it a contemporary edge. A yellow neoprene jacket, for example, was strapped to one model's front, while another was worn like a shawl over the shoulder. Elsewhere, a pair of fluttering trousers tied around a model's waist brought movement to an outfit and neoprene gave a whole new identity to a classic men's jacket.
With this show, Fumito Ganryu has pulled off a masterstroke by taking the streetwear from his previous line, Ganryu, and developing it into a more conceptual casual collection with elements of sportswear and athleisure, effortlessly mixing technical textiles with more classic materials such as cotton.
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