You only need two songs, two timeless pop culture anthems, to sum up Blackyoto’s philosophy: « Diamonds are Forever » and « Paint it Black ». The English brand, based in Munich, is known for creating clothing like treasures, taking us back a century ago. Each piece is reworked and dyed in a deep, unique shade of black.
When in Japan in 2013, Jeremy McAlpine discovered and experienced dye and the art of applying it to clothing through the Shinkuro technique. There, he visited Kyoto Montsuki’s workshop, a company strong of a century-old know-how and a flawless reputation, whose particularity is to work with the blackest dye, ever.
This particular kind of oxidized black and the Japanese craftsmen’s quality of work left a lasting impression on McAlpine, inspiring him to launch the Blackyoto adventure.
Since then, he has traveled Europe with his team, from flea markets to military surpluses, from thrift shops to dusty old chests. From East to West, North to South, one mission remains: finding THE piece, the one dating from the late 19th century, or early 20th, the one lost in the creases of history… Workwear, military garments, dresses and lingerie even, constitute the heart of their womenswear collection. Each and every garment conveys memories and traces of Time.
All the pieces get to live a second life of sorts. Lace bloomers, hand-sewn dressing gowns, Mimi-typo sleeveless dresses with crocheted low-cut necklines, and long Akari dresses with crew necks – some going back to as early as the 20th century or late 19th century – are reinvented and infused with a fresh and modern take.
Dyed at least twice, with a high-temperature dying process that turns the garments blacker than black and softens the fabric, each item is graced with a newly found youth, with a black so deep, it absorbs light completely, highlighting bright, vivid colored details like silk embroideries over the kimonos.
Hunt for miraculous Blackyoto treasures at Leclaireur Hérold.
Pictures by Jens Schwarz