Having picked up fans in both Europe and Japan with their outlandish, yet exceptionally complex, high fashion apparel, Christian Dada is a name on the lips of many right now. We took five minutes to talk with creative director Masanori Morikawa…
The Japanese high-fashion market is a beguiling, bewildering place full of brands, designers and names about as well-known to European shoppers as uranium mining companies. As such, it’s usually not until designers venture beyond the boundaries of their insular, domestic bubble that Western audiences begin to sit up and take notice. Having been thrust into the public eye back in 2012 as the author of Lady Gaga’s shocking pink “Crane Dress,” Masanori Morikawa – creative director of fashion house Christian Dada – began showcasing at Paris Fashion Week just two seasons ago, to great acclaim.
Off the back of his most recent, skateboard-heavy AW15 show, we took five minutes to ask him a few questions.
You’re a Japanese label, but present in Paris. How do Paris and Tokyo’s fashion cultures differ?
Paris is the historical center of the fashion industry, with a long tradition in high fashion. The “INVADERS” AW15 show was my second show in Paris. I am very happy about this. Even though Japan is a major fashion market, the Tokyo fashion scene is eclectic. Its designers are more interested in pushing the envelope, expanding their creativity and trying new things.
Japan’s fashion culture is notoriously insular; what made you expand out and show your collections in Paris?
Paris represents a dream, but it’s also really important for me to show there. I want to touch a wider audience. My work has been highly influenced by European culture, which I mix with Japanese know-how and its materials, like the authentic kimono fabric I used this season and traditional embroidery techniques.
What’s the story behind this season’s collection?
The “INVADERS” collection is a tribute to Jay Adams. His life and attitude really inspired me. With this collection, I wanted to revisit the triumphant days of the Z-BOYS and the rise of skateboarding culture in DOGTOWN in California in the mid-’70s. I focused on the materials and ’70s inspired details from skateboarding culture, such as flannels, destroyed jeans or leather.
What’s the story behind the tattoos used in your Fall/Winter 2015 show?
I went through many images from the ’70s skateboarders. A lot of designs come from these images.
Skate culture has been mined for inspiration by many high fashion labels in the past. How have you approached things differently?
I was really interested in their carefree attitude toward life. But there was more to their lifestyle – The DOGTOWN gang influenced the whole of skateboarding culture, crafting a tenacious, local identity and based on specific codes. I revisited their iconic wardrobe pieces with noble fabrics, all while remaining faithful to their “I don’t care” attitude.
Skate culture is notorious for being hostile to outsiders and threats of appropriation; have you found any backlash from the skate community for using a skate aesthetic in your collections?
I did not have any backlash from the skate community, as I am not trying to copy a specific skate aesthetic. I tried to give it my own interpretation.