Daisuke Obana’s brand N.Hoolywood has often struck me as an odd feature of New York Fashion Week, seeing as most other Japanese designers who go to enormous lengths to exhibit abroad end up in Paris and Italy.  However, whereas Julius or Yohji Yamamoto head to Europe as a commercial decision to reach as broad a market as possible, N.Hoolywood’s endeavors in NY feel like more of a labour of love for the designer himself.  Afterall, this is a man who started selling American vintage on the backstreets of Harajuku, and whose first original work was re-makes of the big names of American vintage fashion such as Levis, Lee, Wrangler and Converse, and from there collaborated with those quintessentially Western names.  Thus it should come as no surprise that his work is a constant journey into US history and culture, to the point where his feverish passion for the country has led to him wanting to give something back to the fashion he appreciates so much, and in this way, has made NY the only appropriate context for his shows.

This time his collection entitled “The Kapitan” is a voyage into the life and times of American writer Ernest Hemingway.  With the exception of that first image above which I have placed out of order, the following show is a chronological look at his life.  It starts with his roots as a gentleman reporter, before taking in his time spent as part of the Red Cross during WWI, from there world-wide adventure before a return to military as we enter WWII.  The show quite justly ends on the writers most famous period when he wrote “The Old Man and the Sea” and the nautical images of Ernest Hemingway as a captain provide the most obvious thematic structure to the show.

Aside from this engagement with the writer, his dedication to traditional American wear is as evident as ever, producing conservative, but undeniably competent work which doubtlessly will prove a success amongst high-street casual aficionados looking for a slightly tweak to classic cool and a bit of Americana while they are at it.

1910-1960 Ernest Hemingway as imagined by N.Hoolywood:

So they you have it: a calm, understated collection that you really can’t go wrong with, and evidence as ever that despite Japanese designers often being accused of “copying” foreign fashion, ultimately the aim is to give something back and contribute to the whole.

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