Black is red hot in the hands of Tokyo-based designer Kei Ninomiya. A former pattern-cutter for Rei Kawakubo, and current inclusion under the doyenne’s Comme des Garçons group umbrella, Ninomiya is a chosen one in a line of luminaries like Junya Watanabe. Quietly launched two seasons ago, Noir Kei Ninomiya is a laboratory of technique for the designer, and it is in this third collection that he has hit his stride. Here, the designer explores his chosen hue via varying shades, textures, and frequencies, and each piece is labored over with painfully detailed execution.
The result is a fusion of punk DIY and elegance, anchored in reality. The 30-year-old Royal Academy graduate’s main driving force in fashion is to create something new through a formula of impactful design, beauty, wear ability, and a nice price. Biker jackets appear in various forms: Complicated as they may look—bat wings with metal piercings delicately holding the strips together—they wear effortlessly. Men’s tailored pants are constructed of intricately woven velvet and jacquard tape strips or destroyed with laser slashes. Feminine lace is rethought using durable vinyl fabric punctuated with laser-cut patterns, while sequins take on a new identity in faux black leather.
“It’s figuring out how to make it as a product at the same time as exploring techniques,” he explained from the Comme des Garçons building in Tokyo. “There is a dangerous element. The fragility somehow looks beautiful. But you can still wear them as clothes.”
*Priced between $480 and $3,585, Noir Kei Ninomiya is sold at Dover Street Market, Comme des Garçons stores, Le Bon Marché, 10 Corso Como in Seoul, and other select retailers.