The collaborative pair have been celebrated early on in their careers, attracting the attention of Liberty and Barneys buyers even before graduation from Central Saint Martins in 1999. More than ten years onwards, Blaak’s punk edge has undoubtedly matured. Their innovative signature, however, is still very much apparent in ‘Maximum of Minimum’, the autumn winter collection shown in Paris earlier this year.
Sharply cut cropped trousersuits juxtaposed with boxy coats or tuxedo jackeds on top of long skirts show a menswear vision tailored to an modern man with a slightly dark sensibilty and a freer sense of individuality. One half of the duo, Sachiko Okada, gives Dazed some more insight into this season’s offering.
Dazed Digital: How does the title of the A/W11 collection’s, ‘Maximum of Minimum’, reflect the looks?
Sachiko Okada: Our intent was to take an excessive aesthetic such as Rococo, an element that is kind of borderline, and to express it in the most minimal way. That was the message behind the title. It reflects in the choice of fabric in connection to the silhouette.
DD: How important does the non-colour black remain?
Sachiko Okada: Black is important in that it adds drama to a situation, in a way that no other colour can. The floor length coats, for example, had to be in black. In this collection black is used more to punctuate the other colours. For us this season was about pushing orange – a new colour for Blaak.
DD: Blaak’s menswear debut was in 2007. There have been some changes in menswear since then – for example with the shift away from the slim Dior Homme silhouette. Has your vision evolved?
Sacihiko Okada: The identity of menswear is far freer now than 5 years ago and this reflects on the choices available to men – the mono look is definitely not holding up any more. At BLAAK there is always a core appreciation for a softer approach to menswear.
When we first presented the men’s collection we were based in Paris and the approach to our work reflected that. When we moved back to London, the collection reflected the change. For BLAAK our work is like a diary: it reflects our life quite directly. Change is part of a process, and like everything we’re all evolving constantly.
DD: Since last season, you’re both also designing for Cerruti Men. Has it influenced how you design for your own label?
Sachiko Okada: Our objectives and core remain the same, but maybe we’re more aware of the time we have. We make decisions quicker now. We’re enjoying the contrast between Blaak and Cerruti.
DD: How do you approach Cerruti differently?
Sachiko Okada: At Cerruti we work on realising Zoran's vision, the Artistic Director of Cerruti. We work very closely with him on all aspects of the collection. We've known him for almost 10 years - working with him comes very naturally to us. At Cerruti, we’re no longer a duo, but part of the bigger team - the trio. Zoran knows our work from the beginning and has a profound understanding of men’s fashion. He knows what elements will work from our vocabulary, and is able to create a new expression from this.
DD: Is womenswear on the programme again at any time in the future?
Sachicko Okada: I have been art directing a womenswear brand in China called “Less”, a directional domestic brand that has over a 100 stores throughout China I like the pace they work at – everything is possible and the conviction to make it happen is well appreciated. Soon one day we’ll be buying these Chinese fashion brands, like we did in the 80’s from Japanese brands. It’s an exciting moment to be involved in.