October 17th, 2010
There’s a natural chemistry between music and fashion, whether on the runway or in the nightclub. And no label fuses the two more seamlessly than France’s Kitsuné, a creative partnership known as much for breaking buzz bands through its record label as dressing trendsetters in its fashion line. As the fashion arm of the label plans its expansion into North America for 2011, The Block had a chat with Kitsuné’s founders, Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki.
Jennifer Croll: Before the two of you created Kitsuné in 2002, Gildas worked with Daft Punk and Masaya was an architect. What’s your “how we met” story?
Gildas Loaëc: I was running a little vinyl record store in the early 90s in central Paris, just in front of a famous skate shop. Masaya was “consuming” skate at this time and I think we were having common friends. Some time after I was working with Daft Punk, we brought him with us in Japan to be our guide, when we were working on the movie Interstella 5555.
Masaya Kuroki: When I went to Japan for the Daft Punk project, I was working as an assistant at French architecture agency Ateliers Jean Nouvel. During this trip in Japan, we spent a lot of time in Tokyo. Between meetings we were checking every cool store in different areas of the city. At that moment I realized Gildas and I were watching the same things, sharing the same taste for clothing and music. It’s really nice to meet someone who has the same ideas as you.
JC: What made the two of you decide to launch a music and fashion label?
MK: Music and fashion have always been connected since the 18th century; people are always fascinated by music and fashion. When you are passionate about these two domains, I think it’s quite natural to work in these two fields.
JC: Which comes first at Kitsuné: the music or the fashion? Does one inspire the other?
MK: All artists we signed through Kitsuné inspire me a lot when I’m working on the collections, and some artists love our clothes. I see them sometimes on stage or in their private life with our clothes – that gives a lot more inspiration to the collections.
JC: When you’re working on fashion and music concepts for Kitsuné, is it really collaborative, or is each of you off doing your own thing separately?
GL: There is little bridges between, like our little teasing videos for the compilations and for the clothes line, but mostly it is kind of working separately.
JC: Lots of people look to Kitsuné to discover new music. So where do *you* get your leads for new music?
GL: Being curious, looking around… That is really important, to be always curious about MySpace, blogs, live festivals.
JC: Do you see a lot of live shows? What’s the most memorable live music experience you’ve had?
GL: Daft Punk is my best memorable live show ever. I saw the show many, many times. Always fantastic! Osaka was maybe was the craziest, because the venue was really really dark, which made the light show even more mind-blowing and dramatic, and Osaka kids were jumping everywhere.
MK: Me too, the Daft Punk show. I saw it several times but each time, such great feelings!
JC: What’s your favourite band of the moment?
GL: Is Tropical, who we just signed.
MK: Two Door Cinema Club.
Is Tropical – “South Pacific”
JC: You recently launched a new shop and label, Kitsuné Parisien. You collaborated with graffiti artist André (Monsieur A) for the store, but his art was stolen! Can you tell me more about that?
GL: That’s a funny story, our friend André indeed painted a beautiful Monsieur A on our window but after one week some guys breaks our window and stole our Monsieur A! But André is back soon to work on our window.
JC: Was André’s piece ever found?
JC: Your F/W 2010 collection, Ivy League, is obviously prep-school inspired. What do you find appealing about the American upper-class university aesthetic?
GL: It’s classic and modern at the same time. We like the idea of taking old time classic pieces and updating them.
MK: This is something we don’t have in Europe. It’s quite fascinating to break the rules and make it in our own taste. In a Parisien way.
JC: What were the two of you like in school? Preppy? Nerdy?
GL: Indie kid for me.
JC: Kitsuné for men debuts in the US for S/S 2011, and the women’s collection for F/W 2011. Are you doing anything special with the line for your big North American invasion?
GL: Ouhlala, not that much, we are still a small company. We are carrying the line now through Opening Ceremony. We did for them a little special line with a big tricolour fox, and also we did for New York’s September 2010 Fashion Week a little temporary store at Barneys.
JC: Following from the last question… You guys have been experimenting with a travelling pop-up shop in cities like London and Tokyo. Do you have any plans to open up something permanent anywhere other than Paris?
GL: Yes! We are currently working on opening a proper Kitsuné store in Tokyo for May 2011 and still working on our little temporary stores, like something in Seoul and in New York.
Interview Jennifer CrollTweet