One sits up when one gets wind of a brand with a name that riffs on Dior and the absurdist Dada movement. A name like that speaks volumes about the label’s intent: high and low meet to play on established tropes – one of the ordered world of haute couture and the other of the purposefully senseless and disorderly realm of post-war art.
The story the clothes tell is one of the street fused with classical fashion silhouettes. What Christian Dada is, then, is a story of the old and the new, the young and the old, the submissive and the rebellious.
Its new store in Singapore is emblematic of that. Following interest and backing from local investment group D’League, the brand has been able to establish its first retail flagship outside of Japan: a spacious, modern and black-heavy store on Orchard Road. Black perforated metal is folded angularly to form seats that look like rocks. The idea here is a Japanese zen garden – a symbol of Japanese calm amid punk modernity.
Christian Dada got its start in 2010 with roots in repurposing vintage garments through an almost Helmut Lang type of lens. The brand has since grown to become a Tokyo fashion week presence and having a place on the Paris fashion week schedule.
The man behind the brand: Masanori Morikawa, whose design talents lie mainly in his graphic punchiness, level of craft (the embroidery work on Christian Dada pieces are a standout) and an ability to simultaneously fuse two things the French have struggled with – rock-n-roll and high fashion. Here, we pick apart – with the man himself – what makes the Dada brand tick.
How did you get into fashion?
My grandparents were in the embroidery business, so my interest in fashion grew very organically. I attended a fashion school in Japan and then I worked under Charles Anastase in London.
How did it feel to show your collection at Paris fashion week?
I am still in the learning phase, but I don’t see anyone else who is showing a collection at my age. So I feel like I could be a beacon for a younger generation, and that means a lot to me.
fashion clothes You showed your women’s collection at Tokyo to commemorate the launch of the line. What do you think about fashion week in Japan compared to Paris?
I think there are so many things in Japan that need work. Timing is one thing – they’re showing too late. Another thing is that now anybody and everybody can join and show their collections in Tokyo regardless of the level of their creations, which should be changed in order to make it better.
You’ve said before that Japonist clothing is worn only by non-Japanese people. Why do you think that is?
Japanese people in general, tend to think Japonism is old-school. Having said that, it is now becoming a trend and I feel like people, even the Japanese, are more open to it.
Who do you design for – is there a Christian Dada muse?
Of course I think about fans who wear Christian Dada, but if I think about it too much, my creations will lose their focus. To avoid that, I design for myself – just as I like it. I’d rather get inspiration from interesting things that are happening around me.
What would you say is a Christian Dada design signature?
It is imperfect and ever-changing daily.
What are you currently obsessed with?
To find clothing to match my loafers.
What kind of clothing do you absolutely hate?
Clothes without love.