FRED ASTAIRE by Hi­ro­fu­mi Ku­ri­no

Co-foun­der of Uni­ted Ar­ro­ws


Ku­ri­no is co-foun­der and crea­ti­ve ad­vi­sor of Uni­ted Ar­ro­ws, the inf luen­tial Ja­pa­ne­se mul­ti-brand men­swear re­tai­ler, whi­ch has over 250 shops glo­bal­ly. Ho­we­ver, Ku­ri­no’s weight in the in­du­stry goes beyond this: of­ten photographed, he is a sty­le icon un­to him­self, the ul­ti­ma­te em­bo­di­ment of mo­der­na­ge gen­tle­man­ly dres­sing, at on­ce ea­sy-going and ele­gant. For me, sty­le is bet­ter than fa­shion. Sty­le is an ex­pres­sion of one­self. It’s not ju­st about the clo­thes, it’s about phi­lo­so­phy, li­fe­sty­le, your at­ti­tu­de - and your clo­thes. It’s for this rea­son that I would choo­se Fred Astaire as my sty­le icon.

He wa­sn’t so hand­so­me. And he knew that. Be­cau­se he was a dan­cer, he could control his mo­ves, the way he used his hands, the an­gle of his head. He could show him­self as an ele­gant being, even wi­thout a lot of phy­si­cal beau­ty. We can see that in his mo­vies and in pho­tos of him. Shall We Dan­ce, with Gin­ger Ro­gers, is a good exam­ple of this.

He was a kind of in­no­va­tor in fa­shion as well. In so­me mo­vies he tied a tie around his wai­st as a belt. Or, in Fun­ny Fa­ce, he wears a nec­ker­chief and shirt to­ge­ther with a car­di­gan. It’s a ve­ry sim­ple, ca­sual look but it still looks ve­ry ele­gant.The eve­ning dress is an ae­sthe­tic gar­ment, but he could dan­ce in it and use its tails - it’s like a sports jer­sey to him. He was a ge­nius at un­der­stan­ding his body, his mo­ves, and the clo­thing.

Astaire had no sty­li­st; he was him­self. Ma­ny sty­lists do a good job, so the clo­thes will look good on their clien­ts’ body, but no­bo­dy can let me ap­pre­cia­te the sa­me na­tu­ral per­so­nal sty­le as you get with so­meo­ne like Fred Astaire. I do know he was a re­gu­lar cu­sto­mer of An­der­son & Shep­pard, of Sa­vi­le Row, the sa­me tai­lors who dres­sed Da­niel Day-Lewis in Phan­tom Th­read. One hun­dred per­cent of his clo­thing in that film ca­me from An­der­son & Shep­pard. Bri­ti­sh tai­lo­ring is co­ming back, and we’ll see mu­ch mo­re of that this au­tumn.

Per­so­nal­ly, I don’t wear shorts or san­dals in pu­blic, and ra­re­ly a T-shirt. I still want to dress ele­gan­tly, even on a ca­sual or ve­ry re­la­xed oc­ca­sion. It’s ne­ces­sa­ry for me! It’s not for other peo­ple, it’s ju­st for me that I do this. It is my sty­le, my self.

I wouldn’t say all Ja­pa­ne­se men are ele­gant, but we are still using our spi­rit, I think. How shall I say this? Man­ners still exi­st in Ja­pan. We are ve­ry po­li­te and al­ways say thank you, whi­ch is ne­ces­sa­ry to be an ele­gant per son.

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