For all the austerity and severity you might be tempted to associate with dark artisanal fashion, it is always worth remembering that it is not without its lighter notes.  Shunsuke Hatakeyama is one designer who has made his niche that of absolute neutrality across a colorless spectrum, neither tailoring too close to the body or draping around it, his starting point to make a featureless shell around the body which often concealed hidden structural details such as wooden struts in the collar or chest, but rarely visible to the observer.  This theory began life in deliberately boyish collections, a deliberate reflection of the formative nature of the work, but now with this collection for AW 2013-14, Shunsuke Hatakeyama is starting to flesh out his ideas, building in references to adulthood through worker’s aprons, defined tailoring, and flowers to represent romantic interest.  It is fun seeing those ideas emerge through Hatakeyama’s restraint and the result is as enjoyable as ever – vague yet articulated, warm yet bleak.

The complete look has hints of the romanticism running through it thanks to the flower and wood corsage, an addition essential to capturing the mood of this collection.

I love how unarticulated this coat is, both in structure and in the ghostly sun-bleached textile.

The gradient is hand-dyed and unbelievably dense at the black extremity.

The addition of the apron is a nice touch, either worn randomly as an extra layer/scarf as above, or tied correctly in the traditional fashion.

The trouser design is a continuation from last season and brings in a touch of androgyny to this men’s collection.  Like all of Shunsuke Hatakeyama’s work, this the nuance is soft but sufficiently eloquent to get the point made.

In the showroom the colours were one of the collection’s strongest suit.  With the addition of the gradient the total now stands at 6, that ranges from colorless (black), which is then washed out to achieve two grays of various saturation, and from the other end of the spectrum a pure white and one that is discolored in sunlight.

Shunsuke Hatakeyama is now available at a couple of boutiques across Japan (check the official site here), but still remains a little elusive to track down.  If you do I recommend you pounce, especially as the price point is so good – personally I am still regretting not adding one of the aprons to my orders this season.

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