Kitsuné menswear recently made a welcome return to the shelves of The Shop at Bluebird in West London. To celebrate, DJ Jerry Bouthier and co-founder of the brand (alongside Masaya Kuroki) Gildas Loaëc paid a visit to the capital for a big knees-up, launching Fall Winter 2013 at the shop-in-shop and the second Soleil Mix. With his ever expanding empire marching onwards, we caught up with Loaëc for a chat about Kitsuné past present and future.
What came first for Kitsuné, music or fashion?
Music and fashion started together. The concept of Kitsuné was to have both activities working alongside each other. It is true that the music side of Kitsuné became visible first as it spread rapidly online. As the cycle of making clothes is slower with the pace of the season fashion came after in the eyes of the public.
Which aspect of Kitsuné comes more naturally to you?
For me, it was music and for Masaya fashion. Slowly, I’m getting more and more involved in the fashion side too.
What do you think is the key to keeping a record label relevant and interesting?
The songs! The most important thing is the song writing. We are trying to deliver great songs on Kitsuné’s music label, with artists like La roux, Klaxons, Two Door Cinema Club etc..
How would you describe the Kitsuné look?
Both chic and casual, with a zest of street and Frenchness.
You seem to have particularly strong links with Japan, why do you think the brand has such a huge following in that part of the world?
We went to Japan many times before starting Kitsuné. I was working with Daft Punk and I bought Masaya with us when we were doing the anime with Leiji Matsumoto for the Interstella 5555 Daft Punk movie. Whilst in Japan Masaya and I were visiting all the stores and brainstorming a brand concept that could fit the Japanese market. The idea of a music and lifestyle brand all under one roof came up; combing a strong graphic identity with a clear music identity and fashion focus. We were very lucky to find a strong resonance among Japanese kids. Over the course of 10 years we were spending almost 3 months a year in Japan, the fact that Masaya is Japanese also helps. We are now so proud to have our Maison Kitsuné store in Tokyo in Aoyoma. We now finally have a proper excuse to go back in this fantastic country.
Which other designers/labels do you follow?
Thom browne, Sacai, Nhollywood, Olympia le tan , RRL, Junya Watanabe and so many others…
How important are collaborations to Kitsuné?
We’ve been doing collaborations with great brands like JM weston, Petit Bateau, Oliver Peoples, more recenly Aigle… They allow us to benefit from a savoir-faire and also give our brand a new platform.
You celebrated ten years of the label in 2012, what have been the highlights so far?
Our first store in Paris, LA roux’s single getting Number 1 in UK charts, Two Door Cinema Club’s album going platinum in UK, our Maison Kitsuné store in New York and then our Maison Kitsuné store in Japan. We are just getting the keys of Café Kitsuné in Paris which I am sure is going to be another highlight for us.
Can you tell us a little about Fall Winter 2013 Maison Kitsuné collection?
This season we have been inspired by military and have combined street with chic so we have simply called it “military street chic” collection.
What’s next for Kitsuné on both the music and fashion sides?
In fashion, we are working to continue developing our lines for both men and women, we also hope to open more stores. On the music side, we are signing more great bands, also stay tuned as we are doing so many Kitsuné parties globally like the one we have just done at The Shop at Bluebird and Village Underground in London for the launch of our second Soleil Mix.