Namacheko is expensive. But that’s just luxury. And luxury at its core — not the merchandizing circus of mundane, easily produced garments fashion has become — is about craft and technique. That’s where Namacheko excels. And it sells. Guillaume Andrade, founder of Los Angeles-based boutique and brand 424, told me backstage at Namacheko’s show in Paris last week that the brand’s trousers sell out every season. He’s buying more.
In Japan, too, where Namacheko has many boutiques stocking its clothing, the brand sells fast. And it’s not the graphic tees, logo hoodies or novelty sneakers that sell. The brand doesn’t make those. It’s the show pieces, statement coats, intricate knitwear and architectural shirts that are the bread and butter of the Antwerp-based business.
This season, Namacheko partnered with celebrated American photographer Gregory Crewdson whose photographs featuring elaborately staged, surreal tableaus of suburban American life have been exhibited widely in the United States and Europe, including at galleries and museums like the MoMA, the LACMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Limited edition pieces including gowns, capes and throws will exclusively be available at the Gagosian Gallery. The rest at select retailers around the world later this summer.
We caught up with Namacheko founder Dilan Lurr after his show to find out more.
Christopher Morency: Gregory is one of my favorite photographers, how did you guys get in contact?
Dilan Lurr: I found out about him because I bought the personal books of Charles Koroly, who was the costume designer for Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman. He passed away so there was an auction of his personal book collection and Gregory’s book was in there. I saw his pictures and contacted him. I explained how I wanted to translate his images in clothing.
Tell me about the technique.
We used a warp printing technique where the image is printed on the thread and the fabric is then woven together. It creates a little movement in the picture and never before done on an image before this. It translates it into a more painting-like aesthetic. It’s done for all the pieces [with Gregory’s images on them] besides the knitwear. Whereas the sweatshirts are in angora wool, so more luxurious than the mohair from last time. The washing of the wool and density of the knit are all multiple tests. It obviously makes the knit much more expensive as you’re using more yarn but if you don’t have density, there isn’t enough surface to create a print on it.
Why was it important to get that transform these photographs into painting-like images?
For me it’s not interesting to just do the photographs over again because his pictures are massive prints and it wasn’t going to be the same. With this technique you would get the essence of what the picture is really about and Gregory agreed with me completely when he saw the print outs.
What was the photo selection process like?
We chose the first four major ones. So Natural Wonders which are the earliest photographs with birds and a bit more cartoonish, so mid-1990s, the dioramas he did in his backyard. Then there’s Hover, which are the black and white images. Then it goes to Twilightand Beneath the Roses, so almost into 2007.
Looking at the men and women walking down the runway. We’ve been following you since your first season and this was such a progression. A lot less self-referencial than previous seasons.
Yes. For me this was about looking at America in a way but through different lenses. Mainly through Gregory but also through his references like Hitchcock and David Lynch. You have the henchman and the former beauty queen from the village, we actually called one knit beauty queen.
It’s too bad Gregory couldn’t be here.
I think he has a major exhibition coming up. But he sent me the song for the show’s soundtrack which was important. It was Yo La Tengo’s Night Falls in Hoboken. He’s collaborated with them before and it was a remix of a friend of his and we thought it was perfect for the show.