One of the things that make The Sakaki special is its colorful lookbooks. “I want people to have a laugh,” says Kotaro Sakaki, the designer. The Hyottoko (Japanese mask depicting a man with a clown-like appearance) mask appears in the books each time and makes quite an impression. The brand’s debut collection was represented by a model wearing a Hyottoko mask at Japan’s National Diet Building. For the 2014-15 A/W collection, the brand appointed models from the talent agency Takaquragumi specializing in the roles of villains. The lookbooks made the brand name famous, but Sakaki remains calm. He knows that the effect is temporary, and his mind is already set on his next project.

“I’m going to do away with the lookbook concept. I want to create photographs that can be enjoyed on their own. I consider a lookbook to be similar to a book of answers. I don’t need it anymore. When I created the one for 2014-15 A/W, I felt that people would think that I was only trying to sell my clothes to people from the dark side. But if I asked models with a slim body to wear the same clothes, the oversized designs would become rather feminine. I don’t like to put such fixed images onto the designs. I want the designs to be ambiguous. It’s a shame that the images used for lookbooks become meaningless in just six months. I aim to create timeless images that stand out on their own as if they were paintings. For the 2015 S/S season, I hope to get a positive reaction if I were to present one look (photo).”

The 2012-13 A/W collection was photographed in front of a gold folding screen. Not wanting to be labeled as “Japanese,” the brand appointed international models for its next season. “I don’t introduce Japanese elements because I think they are trendy. I do it because I’m Japanese. I’m fond of Japanese history and want to know more about my country. I’ve never lived outside of Japan either.”

To be continued into Part 3/5.