Seattle menswear label Maiden Noir released the imagery for their latest collection, ‘Forever Lost’, inspired by the tones and architecture of the planet’s quickly vanishing glaciers.
Accompanied by a lookbook set in an appropriate location, the collection is immediately characterised by solid, fluid garment designs with little or no ornamentation and rich, natural colour palettes.
Moving away from previous collections’ inclinations towards military and streetwear influences, this season sees Maiden Noir moving further within the boundaries of contemporary menswear, presenting calculated adaptations of wardrobe essentials as well as twisting other pieces into wildcard designs.
Cold-climate items such as fleece zip-ups and quilted jackets are accented with contrast panels in organic colours, whilst other pieces are altered with zip closures and adjusted collars that create new shapes on classic garments.
The standout piece in the whole collection for me, however, has to be the pullover long-sleeve shirt, blending elements of a baseball jersey, button-up shirt and jersey into one piece. Everything just seems to flow perfectly. The same can be said of the suede bomber jacket, nothing more than it needs to be, just perfectly designed.
Maiden Noir is a frustrating label to me a lot of the time. In theory everything about them could be the perfect clothing company. It’s based in Seattle, one of those few US cities that possess the type of cool that’s enduring and timeless in an unimposing way. Founder Nin Truong’s background in architecture and other forms of design seems to give him a broad and confident approach to menswear design that respects the boundaries whilst knowing how to push and operate within them. The name is dripping with cool. They’ve got that crazy “Seventh Son of the Seventh Son” mythology narrative which is mind-blowingly cool.
They’ve got a strong Japanese following and, as such, have pulled out a number of solid Trans-Pacific collaborations in their time that have killed. Let’s all take the time to remember their 7th Anniversary collection that was all the right kinds of crazy. They collaborated with NexusVII, I don’t see why I should have to say anything else.
But there’s always this slight nagging every so often that they never quite hit the mark. Such is the same with this collection. It’s nice, I like pieces, it all seems to work together, but I still can’t shake the feeling as I walk away that there’s something a bit anonymous about it all. I really don’t know what it is that causes that either.
I feel like if this genuinely was a Japanese brand, Maiden Noir would have established a crazy collective following that carried the brand identity and bolstered everything with that “pizzazz” that makes so many Japanese brands kind of mythical. Instead it sometimes feels like they’re a Pacific Northwest menswear label with all the right ingredients, just cooked in the wrong way, perhaps.
The result has been the same the past few seasons; a collection which I look at and warm to, even spend a lot of time pondering trying to get hold of one or two pieces, but rarely materialising into an actual purchase. Which is a shame, because eventually I’ll see those pullover shirts and bombers on another person and I’ll be gutted I never pulled the trigger, but whatever it is that did it for that person, it just wasn’t there for me. By all means, please, be that person.