We’ve been hearing about pearls gracing the fashion runways (hello, Prabal Gurung x Tasaki Atelier) for several seasons, but news of Commes des Garçons joining forces with Mikimoto for its first-ever fine jewelry collaboration feels like a really big deal.
The partnership is intended to be a two-year affair. The initial launch happened Wednesday, during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week: The small collection of seven necklaces is made in sterling silver and either white South Sea or akoya Mikimoto pearls. But as you’ll see in the photos, the designs are anything but petite or particularly ladylike.
Which, it turns out, was the goal all along.
In a brand statement, Mikimoto said that “Rei Kawakubo greatly revolutionized the industry with her extraordinary creativity, exploring a sense of originality free of tradition and boundaries.”
The venerable Japanese jeweler, whose founder Kokichi Mikimoto is credited for having invented cultured pearls, further shared that the collaboration between the brands began with Kawakubo’s unique vision to adorn “men in pearls.”
And Mikimoto was completely on board. Also from the statement: “In an era when preexisting values are rapidly evolving, we hope to further promote the beauty and potential of pearls through this collaboration. To adorn the necks of all, regardless of age or gender. We believe this collaboration will generate a whole new wave of trends and opportunities for Mikimoto.”
As for Kawakubo, “I’ve noticed how men also look good when they wear pearls,” she said in a prepared statement. “[That was] the starting point of this collaboration. [For] a traditional company such as Mikimoto, with a 150-year-old history, [a] clashing with, and breaking of the rules can lead to something new.”
The designer said she wanted to “avoid the usual gratuitous logo-adding way of collaboration” and that the collection involved “refraining a little from design” in order to “[emphasize] the beauty of the pearl itself.”
In this, the collaboration is a success, but the gender-neutral, or masculine, inspiration, at least among these first few pieces, is more subtle.
The lifestyle images, which were captured in the Commes des Garçons atelier in Paris, illustrate the necklaces’ dramatic scale and how well they layer together. Which feels more femme to me (maybe it’s the anatomical displays that are throwing me off). But there’s more to come, and we’ll see.
The collection is set to arrive at Commes des Garçons and Dover Street Market stores internationally and at the Mikimoto boutiques in Ginza, Japan. Prices range between $2,800 and $39,000.
Top: Commes des Garçons x Mikimoto just announced a two-year collaboration, starting with seven pearl and chain necklaces (all studio photos courtesy of David Foessel).
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