If there is one thing that could be said of Hiroki Nakamura, it is that he is a man who knows what he likes. Over the last decade his Visvim label has built its reputation as one of, if not THE pioneer in high-end menswear, owing to Nakamura’s passionate approach to his craft. Source materials, design, function and manufacturing methods are all considered and maintained at the highest possible standard, the end result being a product that is both utilitarian in its performance and effortlessly slick in appearance.
Representative of the work and research that goes into every release, Nakamura presents Visvim’s collections as Dissertations on chosen topics, each piece expanding upon the concept further. For Fall/Winter 2013 Nakamura has presented Volume 2 of his ‘Dissertation on a Man with No Country‘.
Following a Spring/Summer collection that experimented with symbolism and rituality, The ‘Man with No Country’ collection conjures images of a nomadic character travelling alone in the wilderness, with Nakamura’s passion for American Heritage and elaborate minimalism splashed healthily throughout the collection.
Fundamentally, the collection is a typical Visvim affair – a bold array of textiles and neutral, unimposing colours being employed with subtle ornamentation that adds some vibrancy. Staples are happily reiterated, such as the brand’s Fluxus Denim and corduroy pants, in a variety of seasonal washes and colours.
Nakamura’s penchant for the organic is as visible as ever, while his own heavily-layered, bohemian style takes clear precedence in each outfit. A popular brand among figures including John Mayer and Eric Clapton, the lookbook also gives a clear nod to some of the figures that have made the brand’s name over the years. The collection’s nomadic theme can be felt instantly, each model carrying everything they need in the clothes on their backs.
Washed denim combinations and unimposing ensembles allude to old stories of cowboys, westerns, loners; the All-American Idol. It’s almost a ramshackle, Petty-esque vibe that I get from some of the shots, and for Visvim it really feels right on target. A label of eccentricity (in my eyes, anyway), simple motifs such as star patterns and paisleys are given a new lease of life when presented through the Visvim lens, providing tasteful flashes of decoration against a cool palette of leathers and fabrics. Underlying themes such as the label’s clear American influences are suggested, not exclaimed, and their presence is felt in smatterings of red, white and blue, or the use of universal symbols with no locale like Smiley Faces and Peace Symbols.
Other popular pieces by the brand make a return, such as their Albacore Shirt, Noragi and Lamina Backpack. A paisley iteration of the Noragi is a new development for an otherwise restrained piece, and is likely a product of Visvim’s new Indigo Camping Trailer project, creating a variety of goods with an emphasis on the use of organic dyes and traditional production techniques.
As the product that first made the brand’s name, it’s no surprise to see a vast array of Visvim’s footwear on display. Silhouettes like the FBT and Skagway are strong as ever, as well as new iterations of the ever-popular Grizzly boot and what look to be several new silhouettes as well. I’m a particular fan of the Flynt for its understated design, and the caramel colourway is looking pretty tasty in the bottom photograph.
This is actually the first time I’ve tried to write about Visvim, and for a brand that has won my heart on so many occasions, it’s surprisingly difficult to find something to say in an article. This might be because Nakamura’s ethos in his design has never been to create pieces that are individually exceptional or eye-catching in their design, but rather to take a simple idea such as a cardigan and to create the highest-quality representation possible with materials and features that are truly appropriate. The features that make Visvim’s releases so great aren’t necessarily ones for you to shout about, but personal touches that are intended for you, the wearer, and nobody else.
Many have said over previous seasons that the clothing side of Visvim has needed work to catch up with the brand’s seminal footwear line, and I’ve understood that sentiment in areas. It’s certainly true that recent seasons have seen Nakamura presenting more complete collections with a clear consideration of how each piece performs in the bigger picture, and this really does shine through in how precise each outfit looks despite the ‘dressed to go’ premise.
Each piece is truly a labour of love, the designer travelling from country to country sourcing the absolute best for his creations, so there must surely be something worth celebrating in a man that puts so much effort into creating outfits that look so utterly effortless. The pieces seem to drop onto the wearer’s shoulders, having been anything but thrown together.
Likewise, the understated silhouettes are ornamented with simple, unimposing features that serve to differentiate Nakamura’s product without trivialising his original vision – it’s not hard to think how kitschy the Smiley Face or Peace symbol can be, but under the premise of ‘The Man with No Country’, they instead serve to embody Nakamura’s notions of a universal symbol, a uniform for the lone rangers, wherever and whomever they might be.
The outfits and pieces featured in this collection aren’t necessarily outlandish or unique in their appearance. The jackets look like jackets and the pants look like pants, but they look unquestionably fantastic. As God says to Bender in an episode of Futurama, ‘Sometimes when you’ve done everything right, people won’t think you’ve done anything at all’.
Visvim’s Fall/Winter 2013 collection will be available worldwide from very select stockists, including The Hideout, Dover Street Market, Union Los Angeles and the brand’s own Online Store. Products are incredibly limited and notoriously hard to come by, so if you see something you like, it’s probably an idea to start hunting. Early birds, and so on. Enjoy.