Interview with Mika Ninagawa & Enon Kawatani

Enon Kawatani Photo by Mika Ninagawa

Martin Margiela and Yohji Yamamoto, two brands representing a totally different look at the world. The photographer is Mika Ninakawa, who is also active as a movie director.
These two have joined us for our newly released curation function, and so this time we were able to convene for this special photo session and interview.

--- Thank you for your work on the photo session today. First, I have a question for Mrs. Ninagawa. What was your experience like today doing a photo session with Enon Kawatani as the model?

Ninagawa: I’ve had the opportunity to do a photo shoot with Enon a few times before, but he was photogenic as always!”

Enon Kawatani Photo by Mika Ninagawa
SHIRT : Maison Margiela 1993SS (archive store)
VEST : Maison Margiela 2007SS (archive store)

--- Mr. Kawatani, this photoshoot was done wearing archive pieces from Martin Margiela and Yohji Yamamoto, which are often said to be art pieces. What did you think?

Kawatani: “So yeah, it was really fun! Wearing these archive items really gets you hyped; especially because I’d just seen the movie about Margiela.”

--- You mean [We Margiela], right?

Kawatani: “Yes, that’s right. It’s really inspiring to wear these items that were made when the man was designing himself. I hadn’t had much chance to wear any Yohji items recently, so it was good to wear his style of loose pants as well for the first time in a while. The feeling of having some let is really nice.”

--- Of all the pieces you wore today, which would you say was your favorite?

Kawatani: “Definitely the Yohji pants. I’d gotten rid of all my loose pants in one fell swoop, so at the moment I don’t have any of those kinds of wide pants. It was a good feeling to get back to.”

Enon Kawatani Photo by Mika Ninagawa
JACKET : Yohji Yamamoto POUR HOMME (archive store)

--- They look great on you. So to get on topic, on our website OR NOT you can buy items that were originally sold some time ago. Do you yourself have any experience buying things that aren’t new anymore? Of course, I mean not just clothing, but also instruments, records, photo collections and stuff.

Ninagawa: “Photo collections, definitely. I often go looking for older books that are out of print.”

Kawatani: “I do a lot of record collecting, actually. I look for rare items as well.”

--- Do you have a lot of old records as well?

Kawatani: “Yes! I have a lot of Western music as well, but recently I’ve been keeping busy collecting people like Tatsuro Yamashita and Yumin (Yumi Matsutoya). There’s a lot of things out there, some of which haven’t actually been released outside of record as well, that I collect. There’s this record store in the countryside where the owner has some good taste, so sometimes I buy online from there, or even buy some items from abroad and import them to here.”

--- Do you have any vintage music instruments as well?

Kawatani: “Definitely! I’m quite the collector in that aspect as well. I even own an amp of which there’s only two in the world, which was originally used by Jeff Beck.”

--- Are you still looking for any new gear?

Kawatani: “To be honest, I’ve kind of come full circle as for gear, so I have everything I could actually need at the moment. So, recently I haven’t really bought anything.”

Enon Kawatani Photo by Mika Ninagawa

--- To continue, do you have any clothes of your own you wear often?

Ninagawa: “I have some clothes from my dad (Yukio Ninagawa) who passed away before, from brands like Y’s, Comme de Garcon and Y-3. These days it’s not only me, but also my son who has almost the same sizes who is wearing these items.”

Kawatani: “For me, it’s the pants designed by MARNI. They come out every season, and they’re kind of relax pants, I guess you could say slacks. The ones you pull together with a piece of string around the waist. I’ve been buying them every season really, the shape is different every time. Of course it’s similar, but I have a pair with more folds, a normal pair, some in different colours, you can imagine. But my standard is still the black version. I wear it on a daily basis. They bring out a new version every season, so that’s a standard buy. You’d think my pattern would become quite simple, but I simply buy the items that I like and that fit me well. I haven’t gone out on a limb to buy something new for quite a while.”

--- How do you feel about things like clothes, but also photos, music, art and similar things being carried on into the future? Do you think about these things while you’re making pieces yourself?

Ninagawa: “I do try to keep some distance from the spirit of the times, to not give in too much to expectations. When I made a piece, I don’t have a lofty goal of wanting to save someone at all. The important thing is to make something that you yourself believe is a good thing. By making a good piece, of course I would feel good if as a result people will become more positive after experiencing it. I try to keep up the effort of believing in what I’m making is good art.”

Enon Kawatani Photo by Mika Ninagawa

Kawatani: “When I was watching the movie about Margiela, I saw him as this person who was so far ahead of other people that no one could quite keep up with him. His first show seems to have met with quite a lot of critique as well, but in the end people realized he had an eye for the future, perhaps not only that but he was able to create what he thought was good without being carried away by the mainstream. There’s also people who are really good at feeling the situation and acting on that, but that’s not really the point; a lot of people will start making similar things in the era that follows, so in the end those people don’t stay in the business for long. It becomes a bit of ‘who was that person again?’. So the important thing is to stay first in your field. People who do things only they can are those who remain in the end.”

--- Do you take that in consideration when you’re making music yourself?

Kawatani: “I do, but in my case most of my music is made as a form of respect to earlier musicians, so it’s a question of who to take as an example. So I don’t really think about what kind of music is popular these days. Sometimes you find a new way to see things in music from thirty or even sixty years ago. That’s the kind of thing I consider regularly.”

--- This will be our final question for today. On OR NOT’s website, we have now publicized the CURATOR’S COLLECTION, which has been selected by all our collaborating creators. Their favorite items, items they wear regularly, items they used as costumes in the past, items they wanted to own themselves, everyone selects their playlist different; for the clothes you selected this time, we would love to hear some episodes. To start off with Mrs. Ninagawa, this is an item from MIUMIU, right?

Ninagawa: “I love this design with an open front and back personally. This item by MIUMIU has a very chic colour scheme, so the balance is also good in that it doesn’t get to coquettish.”

Dress / miumiu

--- The next item you selected is this dress by GUCCI.

Ninagawa: “GUCCI is a brand that always manages to entertain me with its looks that are just what I want every season. This item isn’t too gaudy or cool, so I can imagine wearing it on a lot of different occasions.”

Dress / GUCCI

--- Next, we’ll hear from Mr. Kawatani. Our first item is this shirt from Margiela

Kawatani: “I wore this shirt as part of my outfit performing a concert as indigo la End. It’s kind of gaudy, but not too gaudy, you know? The pattern is pretty intricate, but it’s easy to wear so I think it’ll fit anyone fine. I love this item all the more because it’s really a design that can only be done by Margiela.”

Shirt / Maison Margiela

--- The next item you selected is this blue and black knit sweater by MARNI. Do you often buy their clothes?

Kawatani: “I bought this item three, four years ago at the MARNI store. I love MARNI’s knit sweaters, so I personally own several of them as well. I buy a sweater and a pair of pants every season.”

Sweater / MARNI

--- Our final item are these short slacks by BALENCIAGA.

Kawatani: “These are actually the only pair of short pants I own personally. People probably can’t image me much wearing short pants, but for this the material is good, and it’s almost like they’ve cut a part from the original pair, so the length isn’t that short either. This is a pair I bought because I felt I could use it would fit me well.”

Short Pants / BALENCIAGA

Mika Ninagawa

Photographer, Director
Mika Ninagawa has been awarded numerous photography awards, such as Kimura Ihei Award. She has directed a number of video works including the film “Sakuran” (2007), “Helter Skelter” (2012), “Diner”(2019) and “No Longer Human”(2019). Currently her original drama for Netflix, “Followers” is released in 190 countries worldwide. In 2008, her solo exhibition “Mika Ninagawa: Earthly Flowers, Heavenly Colors” toured several museums throughout Japan. She held extensive solo exhibitions mainly in Asian cities such as Taipei and Shanghai where they gathered the greatest number of visitors in their history. Her solo exhibition “Into Fiction/Reality Mika Ninagawa” started its tour from Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto in 2018 and will travel until 2021 throughout the museums in Japan. She is one of the executive board members of the 2020 Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
For more information on the artist, please see the following URL.

Enon Kawatani

Musician, lyricist, composer.
Kawatani performs vocals and guitar for bands like indigo la End, Gesu no Kiwami Otome as well as his personal project Biteki Keikaku , while also producing Genie High and DADARAY and performing guitar for ichikoro. He has supplied songs for several different artists and is also active as a composer for TV series.

indigo la End’s newest single, [Yoasari] is now available for streaming.

Gesu no Kiwami Otome has started its English lyrics project, Lowest Lowest Girl,of which the lyrics video is now available online.

Hair & Make-up_ TAKAI