Reminiscent of Cruella de Vil’s flair in “101 Dalmatians” – Everlasting Sprout’s collection for autumn/winter 2013/14. Photo © Everlasting Sprout
Clothes as the canvas
by Martina Metzner
Aug 14, 2013

Keiichi Muramatsu hardly need bother disguising his background as a costume designer if one considers how stylized the robes and garments are which ever since 2005 he has being tailoring and selling through the “Everlasting Sprout” label, first together with his colleague Noriko Seki and meanwhile alone. The graduate of the “Bunka Fukusou Gakuin Fashion College” in Tokyo, the country’s best-known fashion school, see themselves firmly in the lineage of great Japanese designers such as Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Myake, Rei Kawakubo and Junya Watanabe. His trademark is experimental knitwear design that he in part make by hand in his studio. The label has for some seasons now presented its novelties at the “Tokyo Fashion Week” and has even been the subject of a solo show. And it recently attracted attention for something completely different, a joint venture with Sanaa architect Kazuyo Sejima for the “Architecture for dogs” project – Muji Creative Director Kenya Hara last year persuaded architects and designers such as Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma, Konstant Grcic and Kazuyo Sejima to start rethinking what dog kennels should look like.

The collection Everlasting Sprout has designed for this winter is especially extraordinary. Taking as their title “Black and White”, the designer presents an extraordinary mixture of different materials, patterns and styles. Classic knit patterns such as herringbone or houndstooth are incorporated into the coats and suits almost to overkill, details such as patterned collars, crochets and volants introduce a fairy-tale gleam to the overall looks, and sit prettily with the zebra-like fur applications that are a bit reminiscent of Cruella de Vil’s flair in the “101 Dalmatians”. The interaction of the classic blacks and white is, so Keiichi Muramatsu comments, by no means insignificant. For example, he points out that he’s interested in a “powerful” white to go with a “powerful” black, and in the image that arises from the interaction of the two colors in the patterns. If one considers his fashion from this perspective, then the account of the label given under the “about” button on his website becomes more comprehensible. We can read there that “clothes are the canvas, material is the paint.” As with previous collections, that bore names such as “Chromolumnist”, “The Bird’s Eye” or “Restaurant Wildcat House”, always attesting to a clear thematic focus, Muramatsu has also come up with a poem to express the essence of the collection:

“Black and white.
White spreads. Black cuts through.
White clean. White scary.
Black is serious. Black wriggles.”

Everlasting Sprout always stages its collections (and each has something fairytale, something playfully childish about it) and thus forges a link between the Japanese fashion world, with its emphasis on both restraint and avant-garde transgressions, and the European understanding of haute couture, with its roots in ornamentation and the luxurious. Which definitely makes sense. Because Japanese design has for some years been more strongly favored in Europe, be it in architecture, product and furniture design, and not least in fashion, if we consider the success of Japanese retail chains such as Uniqlo. The latter has truly built a bridgehead in Europe by its collaboration with Jil Sander – in fact, its Paris outlet, located opposite the venerable Galeries Lafayette is doing a very brisk trade. Only fitting that Muramatsu did his training in Italy at Lineapiù, one of the world’s leading specialists for high-end knitwear yarns.

The men’s collection has not so many models, is less daring, but definitely experimental – and a part always knitted. Photo © Everlasting Sprout
Line and point – through the pattern mix the collection seems feminine and buoyant. Photo © Everlasting Sprout
New house, happy poodle: Everlasting Sprout’s designer Keiichi Muramatsu has worked together with Kazuyo Sejima at Sanaa for the project “architecture for dogs”. Photo © architecture for dogs
British classic and a touch of irony, ready is the knickerbocker-outfit. Photo © Everlasting Sprout
Greetings from Coco – the classic two-piece is twisted modern. Photo © Everlasting Sprout
Exemplary: the Herringbone-Woolcoat like of former times. Photo © Everlasting Sprout
Designer Keiichi Muramatsu. Photo © Everlasting Sprout
Well packed: Houndstooth coat over skirt and knee-highs. Photo © Everlasting Sprout
Could pleasure also a little girl: Baby-Doll with Crochets. Photo © Everlasting Sprout
Iodiosyncratic and androgyn: the outfits for men. Photo © Everlasting Sprout