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14 Sep

Noir Kei Ninomiya: ‘Beauty is a component of my

In a rare interview, designer Kei Ninomiya delves into his creative process and the wildly imaginative beauty looks of his shows

Backstage at Noir Kei Ninomiya’s AW23 show in Paris, the make-up artist Amazing Jiro applies thick gelatin to the models’ faces. Swathes and droplets of baby-pink, inky-black and saffron-yellow covers their cheekbones, like a moving painting in process. In lieu of the standard make-up materials you’d normally find backstage at a significant Paris Fashion Week show, the gelatin is the superstar of this show. And on top of the models’ heads? Sculptural burnt-resin headpieces that looked like vibrant metal, concrete washed up on the shore or maybe even small meteorites fallen to earth.

“I feel beauty is a component of my collections and my expression,” Kei Ninomiya says. “My shows will not be just in regards to the clothes. They’re in regards to the place, the people gathering and wanting to bring something recent. It’s the coordination. So the make-up and hair does that too.”

After working with Rei Kawakubo, Ninomiya founded his line under Comme des Garçons in 2012 and today the brand stays the youngest brand under the Comme umbrella, which also includes Junya Watanabe. And it’s also probably the most boundary-pushing to point out at fashion week – something that extends to the wonder which, season after season, displays a level of creativity to match the garments.

“I at all times attempt to make something recent,” says the designer. “It’s my life actually.” Up to now, this has looked like roses piled high in wigs; palm fronds stacked across curls; black paint streaked across the eyes, and green smeared over lips. 

Very similar to Kawakubo, he doesn’t work with moodboards, rarely conducts interviews, and shares little or no insight into his collections, allowing the viewers to attract their very own conclusions. This season, the show notes offered up the strong but easy description of “Noir in Bloom”, stating that “Noir Kei Ninomiya takes us on an exploration of a recent dimension.” On the catwalk, massive silver foiled flowers surrounded models in a cocoon of bloom as the sunshine refracted across the stark white venue. Sharp black plastic studs encasing chunky puffs of cloth flowers unfurled, and glittery bows toppled over pastel knitwear.

The day after the show, in Comme des Garçons’s Paris headquarters, Ninomiya shares his typical technique of dreaming up the splendidly bizarre beauty looks along with his team. He provides the hair, make-up and headpiece collaborators with only a couple of words of direction representing the gathering, and so they then have freedom to create whatever they need, knowing Ninomiya’s work is anything but typical. “I just gave them some keywords because our clothing was not ready in time,” he says with fun. “They think in their very own way. It’s very unconventional.” 

But AW23 wasn’t the one collection by which the make-up looks were painterly and imperfect reasonably than airbrushed and atypical. In years past, make-up artists at Ninomiya’s shows have swept streaks of black (Ninomiya’s favourite color) paint across eyes and lips. Models had their faces encased in orbs of delicate wire masks. And in addition they donned snow-white curly wigs and blotches of gold, pink and blue around their eyes that looked as in the event that they had been painted on with fingers. In Ninomiya’s world, literal paint as a substitute of pigments or ceramic pieces as a substitute of the everyday bobby pins and hairspray rule. 

“I feel it’s about total coordination,” he adds. “It’s also a part of the atmosphere. I mean, it’s a sort of whole world, so it’s really vital for me. This sort of make-up is sort of different in a way. The team can also be attempting to make something recent.”

Backstage, Ninomiya’s creations were so large, the wonder team ducked under and across the models for final touch-ups. “I took inspiration from the headpieces first,” the make-up artist Jiro, who’s by trade a computer graphics make-up artist, told us right before the show. “So I attempted to make something in harmony with that. I desired to do something strong and hard, but not an excessive amount of, and in addition add in some cute nuances to it.”

As with all Noir Kei Ninomiya collection, there’s an underlying darkness that the wonder looks exemplify. Noir means black, in any case, and the color is heavily coded into the guts of the brand, despite AW23 being considered one of its most vibrant of all time. The ceramic artist Takuro Kuwata collaborated with the designer for the second season in a row, on the subversive headwear, which was contrasted with thick, blunt-cut sculptural bangs by the hair stylist Ryu Miyazaki. The hats resembled crushed cans, meteorites crashed right down to earth and chunks of insulation material. “Often with the ceramics, I work with my hands, but this time was different because I modified the materials, burning them,” he told us before the show. “I believed it was a really unique process also since it’s burning plastic, so with the environment and what’s happening today, I believed it was an interesting message.”

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