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.