Takayuki Chino of Cinoh is like many other designers at the moment , thinking about the complexities of gender identity and expression, and how they relate to fashion. Genderlessness and fluidity seem to confuse some designers these days, and the fact that customers seem to care exponentially less about what’s womenswear or what’s menswear when shopping doesn’t seem to make things any clearer.
For this reason, after showing both collections at the same time, Chino has recently been focusing on womenswear for her runway show collection. With this season’s collection of minimal wardrobe staples, Chino aims to differentiate his menswear pieces from the masculine language that often accompanies his womenswear collections. It’s not that he doesn’t believe in unisex clothes, he makes it clear that he just has a specific vision for each one.
The collection itself includes a healthy range of cut concepts and shirts, mostly solid colors (except for two one-off prints that can be edited or explored further). Chino says his silhouettes this season are about the look of skin through movement and “healthy [level] exposure,” though the collection is most believable in less-obtrusive pieces. Like a hakama with a loose long-sleeve turtleneck, or a light white shirtdress with a slightly oversized quarter-button shirt. Another important consideration for him is “the space between the body and the clothes”, sharp lines and attention to the waist. This is most evident in wide-cut vests, wide trousers and jeans with ties and an emphasis on loose shirts. Meanwhile, pieces like knitted sweaters with translucent sleeves or cropped zip-up hoodies distract from the overall look.
Non-neutral shades without soft lavender (Chino says it has an image of wisdom, elegance and regeneration in Japan) let the architecture and proportions be the focus. Chino has managed to set a unique tone for his womenswear collections, although his menswear offerings will be the deciding factor to differentiate the two. The reality is that his customers are likely to shop in both, and ultimately, isn’t that what fashion is all about? A suggestion, a tailor’s choice in a sea of hegemony
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