It’s been a long road for Michail Gkinis. The Greek designer has been resident in Japan for over a decade, after graduating from the London College of Fashion and interning at Issey Miyake. His first brand, aptform, had a cult following with artists and musicians, and even counted Oscar-winner Jared Leto as a devotee. After that came the Michail Gkinis brand, which has since morphed into Michail Gkinis Aoyama— a primarily unisex stole, scarf and cape brand that has been steadily gaining in popularity across the country.
Gkinis’ corniche scarves are all handcrafted in Japan and can be seen as a form of wearable art. Ornate and adaptable, some of his work can be unzipped and wrapped in a variety of ways in order to create different silhouettes. A simple stole can be changed into a blouson or lightweight jacket depending on the wearer’s preference. The designer is also keen to mix materials such as wool fused with leather to create a very original style.
The signature Gkinis look is based on his Greek heritage where draping and folds are a fundamental part of the sartorial culture. It ties in nicely with his love of Japanese artisanship and origami, which also involves an intricate series of folds and shapes. His latest work is available from his pop-up store at Shinjuku’s Isetan until November 14th. The garments on offer are all “free-size” in order to suit all body types, and can also be customized if required. Selected items of the Isetan collection have been made in collaboration with Nuno textile firm, led by legendary designer and fabric innovator Reiko Sudo.
In addition to the pop-up store, the brand has its own space and atelier in Todoroki in Tokyo. Todoroki is renowned for its lush valley and bursts of seasonal hues, which have had a great influence on Gkinis’ color palette. Renowned for his dark and brooding use of black for aptform, the Greek designer has since embraced the natural colors of Japan’s seasons and the present collection is the most colorful and vibrant to date.
Michail Gkinis Aoyama at Japan Senses, Isetan Shinjuku 1F 3-14-1 Shinjuku until November 14th. Open 10.30 – 20.00 firstname.lastname@example.org