While tie-dyeing conjures images of garishly dressed Europeans galavanting across Southeast Asia and Thai-dyeing the beaches of Phuket and Bali, Japanese shibori – an indigo dyeing technique – is a refined art form with a provenant history which flourished during the Edo period (1603-1867). And again now for spring- summer 2020, where you’ll find the technique suffusing Louis Vuitton’s Escale collection in stores.
Shibori is a colourful pre-take on the democratisation of fashion. Ordinary folk in Japan couldn’t wear luxury fabrics such as silks, so new ways of ‘upscaling’ cheaper fabrics like linen and hemp were created; the real dexterity lay in the elaborate knotting and twisting of the cloth before it was coloured. As a result, the intricacy and beauty of the dyed shibori patterns allowed kimonos made from simpler textiles to exude the opulent chic of ‘forbidden’ aristocratic silks. Edo high-low, pre-Tokyo, a newly floating world of fashionable play and entertainment.
Such tie-dye makes the perfect accompaniment for a laid-back summer’s day, from dusk until dawn. Three colour harmonies compose the spectrum: a gradation of deep blue – reminiscent of indigo, the traditional colour of shibori – adorns pieces along with a pastel, tie-dye palette, adding its sky blue and fine-sand shades. Lastly, a warmer pink and red variation is inspired by beetroot or madder root, traditionally used for dyeing.
The vibrant colours embellish ready-to-wear pieces, such as Monogram bomber jackets or graphic one- pieceswimsuits, to summer’s must-have footwear – flat mules and sandals tied around the ankle, and watches. Hats and large scarves provide perfect coverage from the breeze.
Have bag, will Vuitton. Fine leather goods – including the Neverfull tote, Keepall, Speedy and Néo Noé – take pride of place. The gradient motif adorns the bags and clutches, as waves caress sand. The must-have Onthego tote is exclusively embroidered with a holiday destination: Mykonos, Capri, Forte dei Marmi, Okinawa, Rio de Janeiro, Hawaii, Maui or Phuket, to name just a few. A total 25 global cities appear on the bag, allowing one to parade one’s favourite bag all summer long.