Proving that the term underground fashion need not always apply to the dark and edgy world occupied by Honey’s Dead that we talked about recently is Nusumigui. It is a brand that doesn’t really go in for fashion shows or even particularly seasonal collections, but instead has long got by on a hardened Harajuku street fashion following and its continued presence at the select-shop Macaronic. It is a world as cute and whimsical as you could possible ask for, but that takes that naivety to a logical conclusion where it suddenly seems a little bit uncanny when worn by an adult, and particularly an adult man. I leave it for you to judge what the overall effect is, but there is no denying that it is a beautiful world the designer has created, filled with unsettling childishness, good humour and freedom from convention. Come inside:
Nusumigui’s S/S 2012 collection exhibition took place in Macaronic where he was allowed to take over the whole shop and convert it into a taste of his world, which is convenient seeing as the collection is themed around different rooms in the home. Every inch of the space was covered in sheets, on which the designer had drawn items from the respective rooms of his imagined home, which in turn corresponded with the racks next to them. The final piece of the puzzle was the snoozing occupant of the house, a creation which Nusumigui has used since his first collection, a giant clawed bear, who like the collection itself walks a fine line between fantasy and uncomfortable reality.
You can’t get a great sense of scale from this picture but I can assure you that this guy was taller than I am lying down.
Soft colours, soft fabrics and soft shapes abounded, even when leather showed up it was always nude leather.
Even as we were walking around the designer was adding to the drawings on the wall. Having seen his sketch-book for his collection concepts, I can report that they are drawn in the exact same childish style.
It was a beautiful, calming world and a welcome complete contrast to the busy streets of Harajuku outside.
Despite the abundance of raw hems, the core patterns and stitching were painstakingly accurate, and the fabrics beautifully light and soft.
The dinner table with handmade food shaped badges.
The heaviest outers were all ironically themed on pajamas.
Here you can see the subtle pleats, hand printing and clever pocket design (the flaps can be tucked in when not in use or buttoned on the outside).
Afterwards the designer asked me to add my favorite childhood book to his bookcase. I went for the Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, which probably explains why I left the beautiful world occupied by the designer behind long ago.
I can see this being a big hit with the fans that wear this rather bohemian look around Harajuku, but as for reaching out to a new audience, well that is always going to be difficult as as you can see with this exhibition it really needs the context to be transmitted successfully. The designer did bring up the possibility of doing a heavily stylised show as Macaronic did for Tokyo Fashion Week, and I definitely agree that could be just the thing to invite more people into his world.
If you want to see more, and how this is worn, then I advise you to check out Nusumigui’s blog here, where you will spot your fair share of Harajuku street fashion celebrities.