Mame Kurouchi for TOD's
Photo: Courtesy of Tod’s

At a glance, Mame Kurogouchi seems to be a name that’s fast cementing her status as a young, global designer to watch. Incepted by Japanese fashion designer Maiko Kurogouchi at the age of 25, the decade-old label, known for its timeless feminine silhouettes, has gone on to garner the highest of praises among sartorial greats across the globe. Within the recent years, the label has even clinched the award for Best New Designer at the 2014 Mainichi Fashion Grand Prix Shiseido Sponsorship and the Tokyo Fashion Prize in 2017.

Maiko Kurogouchi is a Tokyo-based designer who studied at the famous Bunka Fashion College, which has produced some of the world’s most revered Japanese fashion designers the likes of Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe. After graduating, the young designer worked at the famous Issey Miyake studio for about three years, before striking out on her own.

Dubbed by many fashion insiders as “the next Sacai”, Maiko Kurogouchi’s label Mame Kurogouchi has since garnered a cult following with fans lapping up her modernist approach to using traditional kimono textiles and embroideries mixed with technical touches. For her Spring/Summer 2020 collection, she drew inspiration from silkworms and the traditional art of wrapping in Japan, juxtaposing silk, brocade and knits in a collection that is packed full of artisanal beauty. It’s also in this collection, titled “Embrace”, that Mame Kurogouchi also collaborated with TOD’s on the show sandals. Today, the label Mame Kurogouchi is available in over 80 stockists worldwide, including Beams in Japan, Antonioli in Italy and SKP, which owns several luxury department stores across China. 

In celebration of this upcoming collection that’s set to launch this March, here’s a full disclosure on everything to know about the exciting partnership.

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  1. 1. It’s the first T-Factory collection that sees a blend of Italian and Japanese craftsmanship

The Mame Kurogouchi brand is reputable for drawing upon strong influences and techniques from Japan and so in this new drop for the Italian Maison, we will be seeing a new twist on TOD’s classic ready-to-wear separates and accessories. Unlike previous T-Factory collections with former collaborators like Alessandro Dell’Acqua and Alber Elbaz who gave a more Euro-centric approach.

  1. 2. Maiko flew over to Italy to design the entire collection

All hands were on deck to design the entire Mame Kurogouchi X TOD’s drop and the designer spent several months at the TOD’s factory in Brancadoro, Italy, to spearhead the whole process and work alongside the in-house designers and artisans.

    1. 3. The collection is a true reflection of the Mame Kurogouchi aesthetic

    Maiko exclusively told BAZAAR that she was given ‘lots of freedom on creation’ for this whole collection. She also shared her personal desire to ensure that every piece she designed captured the familiar qualities synonymous with the Mame Kurogouchi brand, apparel that is ‘comfortable and light enough to move about in easily and yet, looks elegant at the same time.’

Related article: Milan Fashion Week: 10 Best Looks From TOD’s Spring/Summer 2020

  1. 4. Featuring a mix of Japanese artisanal techniques and Italian production quality, the collection is produced with the shared value systems between the Japanese and the Italians

Working in Brancadoro in Italy, Maiko met a lot of the craftsmen from the top factory in the state, where she discovered to her surprise that both designers and artisans work together in real-time at the same factory. It is a system which the Japanese use too, and this shared value system is aligned between Maiko and TOD’s in producing an artisanal collection.

  1. 5. Iconic namesake pieces like the Gomminos and T-Bag will be also included in the Mame Kurogouchi X TOD’s line

After looking through TOD’s archives, Maiko decided upon giving the popularised footwear and handbag a Mame Kurogouchi-esque makeover for the contemporary woman. This included making subtle changes in material, structure and form so that the pieces become more flattering be it with embroidered details, a slimmer fit or an incorporation of a new material like nylon.

  1. 6. Maiko’s dreams for Mame Kurogouchi has only skyrocketed since the TOD’s collaboration

The sky’s the limit for Mame Kurogouchi and since the time spent with TOD’s, Maiko is ready to take her fashion brand to the next level. Her game plan? The main goal of expanding her business and possibly, devoting more ‘time to make garments and [her] own factory’.

  1. 7. This collaboration with TOD’s has also been a dream come true for Maiko

According to Maiko, who was given lots of freedom of creation for this TOD’s collection, it took over six months to conceptualise and develop the collection, and she was involved throughout the process from coming up with the concept, colours and assisting with the piecing stage to final production. “I’d say I have developed a collection that’s close to my heart,” says Maiko.

The MAME KUROGOUCHI FOR TOD’s collection will be available exclusively to Japan and select international flagship stores from March 2020.

Related article: A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Making Of TOD’s Factory Capsule Collection