A few days ago Balenciaga presented its new Spring/Summer 2022 campaign.
The campaign shots were taken by Italian fashion photographer Andrea Artemisio but what caught the attention, much more than the items of the collection, were the dioramas and exoskeletons of the real protagonist of this campaign for SS22, the Japanese designer Hiroto Ikeuchi.
The looks of the models, where we find the ready-to-wear, bags and shoes of the French fashion house, are complemented and incorporated by the cyberpunk, cybernetic, exoskeletal works of Ikeuchi.
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The exoskeleton worn by the model you see up here in one of the campaign shots was designed and made in 2015 in collaboration with Skeletonics. Called the MPS-15sk “Multi”, this special suit also features a tablet built into the front of the armor and speakers installed in the shoulders to play music.
Skeletonics is a team of inventors that will “support the evolution of humankind by launching a new era of technology that expands the range and function of our movements”, thanks to robotic.
The MPS-15sk “Multi” exoskeleton will be displayed at Balenciaga’s flagship in Aoyama, Tokyo, while other of Ikeuchi’s works will be showcased within the fashion house’s Japanese boutiques and the French boutique in Paris-Montaigne.
This collaboration makes us understand even more clearly how the cyberpunk genre, the Japanese one above all (think of the mecha Gundam and the iconic manga Ghost in the Shell, written and drawn by Masamune Shirow), is one of the main points of reference for many contemporary works of art.
Hiroto Ikeuchi was born in 1990 and graduated from Tama Art University in Tokyo. His studio/gallery is located in Asagaya, a residential district of the Japanese capital, where he creates his works that consist of dioramas, masks and exoskeletons built from objects such as cameras, bluetooth headphones, phone cases, virtual reality glasses, telescopes, etc..
Functionality and design represent the core of Ikeuchi’s work. For the realization of his works he relies on the concept of coherence between the story he wants to tell and the robotic-mechanical structure he creates. A ready-made approach that comes directly from kitbashing or scrap building: a practice that consists in creating new scale models by borrowing pieces from commercial kits (or from scrap elements of the same in the case of scrap building) to build other objects. Professional modelers also use kitbashing to create special effects in movies.
Relevant skills and abilities those of the Japanese designer, able to transform into dreamlike structures, robotic and cyberpunk, small pieces borrowed from kits to build models of the Gundam for example.
To complete the most important works, both from a structural point of view and in terms of dimensions, it takes about three months working 8 hours a day. Ikeuchi carefully selects the small components of the kits, paints them and makes them fit with the rest of the structure, as in a puzzle, giving soul, body, structure and harmony to thousands of different pieces, obtaining unparalleled functionality and scenic effect.