There seems to be an unspoken nostalgia for post-war America—as edited and enhanced by Hollywood—behind fashion and culture of late. Elvis and Priscilla, high school cliques, and Mad Men… all these references are there but they haven’t been through the grist mill of the TikTok trend machine. In the Land of Opportunity, individual freedoms are usually valued more highly than collective ones. It’s every person for themselves; in fashion that translates into personal style, and that’s one of the main drivers of Daisuke Obana’s latest N.Hoolywood Compile collection. “Our motto was to emphasize the individuality of each piece… and capture an atmosphere where people with distinct individualities come together in one place, enjoying themselves and living together in a communal way,” wrote the designer in an email.
Last season, Obana asked the team to develop the collection under his supervision in order to be able “create new chemistry by having someone else imagine the clothes’ existence.” The starting point for spring (and really every season) was vintage; but the remit this time around, he explained, was to see it “from the perspective of each member of our creative team.” That this did not result in chaos, or a “piecey” lineup has to do with an additional framework—the setting. The lookbook is the result of “pre-planned locations, including styling,” said the designer. The location was “a beach house in front of the sea at the southernmost tip of Tokyo” that was filled with antiques from the USA and seemingly arranged “to resemble the image of a bygone era in America.”
In a sense, spring 2024 at N. Hollywood Compile is a house party. It’s said that situations alter cases, and that roughly applies here in some instances as well. Photographed in a bathroom, a checked set (shirt and pants) takes on aspects of pajamas. Likewise the crop of a picture in which a model, dressed in a “Canadian tuxedo” in front of a strangely narrow door, draws attention to the way he’s wearing the pants, high on the waist, and a bit short at the hem. There is some nice proportion play too, as in the combination of roomy business-gray shorts with a robin-blue two-button blazer with dropped shoulders in a nylon fabric worn over a longer white top with a slightly bubbled hem. Nuance is important at this brand, as is minute attention to detail. In his press statement Obana said he wanted to look at the positive and negative aspects of vintage. Asked to elaborate, he explained that “positive” refers to factors such as the natural wear and tear or color fading that occurs over time, while “negative” includes aspects like material stiffness or imbalanced lengths. By emphasizing each of these elements, the goal is to turn everything into a positive aspect. Imagine walking into a familiar room where something has been moved, that can’t-put-your-finger-on-it feeling of difference; that—along with a deep-seated optimism—is the Obana magic.