Brand to Know: The Parisian Line With a Japanese Sensibility

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Hans Ito spent much of his youth watching cult classic movies. Born and raised in Tokyo, the designer was especially partial to the cerebral, visually arresting films of the French artist Jean Cocteau — which, in turn, roused his interest in fashion. “I realized that I was very conscious of aesthetics,” he says. “I just loved the clothes, the extraordinary haute couture — that was it for me.” And where better to learn the customs and intricacies of the craft than Paris? He enrolled at Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne to study fashion design — just “like the great Yves Saint Laurent,” he says.

Ito settled in the city and now, some 13 years later, is the founder and creative director of École de Curiositiés, a discreet, year-old label that offers well-crafted, simple separates for women. Its moniker derives from Ito’s affinity for cabinets of curiosities — small historical collections of rare objects that tell weird and wonderful stories about the natural world. “They were kind of the concept of a museum, before museums were invented,” he says. “So, with École de Curiositiés I’m inviting you into our own cabinet, where you can experience our stories and treasures,” he notes. “I added ‘École’ because I wanted to establish the brand as a collective experience. Plus, we are always learning and growing.”

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His “school” consists of three core “teachers,” who are responsible for subjects such as embroidery design, public relations and, somewhat unusually, literature. “It’s not in our nature to disclose her name, but our novelist is a famous author in Japan and she writes the stories for each collection,” he reveals. The tale for École’s inaugural ready-to-wear outing — which was aptly presented at Librairie Jousseaume, a specialist bookstore near Le Palais Royal — was inspired by the life and influence of the late…

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