Takeshi Kitazawa takes a long-term view when it comes to life, and fashion. One example of this is the way he conceived of his fall 2022 and spring 2023 shows as a unit; both dedicated to the late Japanese artist and AIDS activist Teiji Furuhashi, specifically the posthumous work “Lovers, 1994,” in which images of bodies interact and dissolve into darkness. “The previous [season]was a deconstruction and reconstruction of ‘Lovers, 1994,’ and this [season] is an expansion of that work,” explains the designer who has worked the theme in video format and in the design and presentation of the collection, rendered mostly in blacks and grays and shot on a black background.
Both collections, viewed with no knowledge of the framework, are focused on beautiful, monochrome tailoring, which Kitazawa uses as a carapace to contain what he describes as “our uncertain human bodies.” Bodies, which the designer views as existing beyond the confines of gender and abetting the self-determination of the wearer. Last season, the idea of seeing yourself through clothing seemed to be symbolized by the designer’s use of mirror embellishments. For spring, transparent word-prints seem to be a sign of the designer’s desire to get beneath outward-facing (and reflectable) surfaces and move beyond the constructed persona to unlock the psyche, (which might explain the key broaches seen on lapels). Keys, in general, can be used in expansive or restrictive ways (opening and closing or locking), but, like Furuhashi, Kitazawa’s message is one that accepts the fluidity of time and experience, the syncopation of existence and disappearance. “I think it is a good experience to let go of the ordinary and surrender to the extraordinary through images and music that have no beginning and no end,” he adds.
In contrast to the tailored looks, which are so precise and pure, the closing ones (consisting of the printed word tops and leotards worn under white shirts), serve the collection narrative more than the wardrobe. Still, the symbolism is strong. Both fall and spring collections move from dark to light. “I want to believe in the light that human beings have; we hope that our actions will create new light,” says Kitazawa, who this season changed out carnations (a symbol of love) for lilies of the valley. He explains they carry the message that “happiness will come again.”