Every designer has a trove of influences to pull from, but Hanako Maeda’s are particularly varied. For her label ADEAM’s fall 2018 collection, she paid tribute to Japanese women in the 1920s, but by spring 2019 she was designing for people heading to The Tunnel and Studio 54 in the ’80s and ’90s. Maeda grew up surrounded by fashion in Japan and New York (both of her parents worked in the industry), which imbues each of her collections with what she’s described as an “East meets West” sensibility.
What ties her collections together are Maeda’s love of Japanese aesthetics, reworked tailoring (think ruffled peplums on oversize menswear suits and wide-leg pinstripe pants finished with a denim crotch), and a touch of cuteness. Her collections offer an artistic, layered approach to ladylike dressing that stands out among the deliberate ugliness that’s so trendy right now. We spoke with her about thank-you notes, the best place to eat in Japan (maybe the world), and oversized clothing.
How do you thank someone for a gift?
I love to write thank-you notes. I feel that handwritten notes always feel more special than email. I keep both ADEAM logo note cards and personal note cards from Smythson in my desk for last-minute thank-you notes.
What would you never wear?
Maybe because of my Japanese heritage, I love oversize clothing that’s not too form-fitting. I don’t wear a lot of tight clothes because I like to feel comfortable when I’m working in the atelier.
What’s your dream vacation?
I would love to have a relaxing weekend at a Japanese onsen (hot springs). One of my favorites is the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hakone, which is a perfect weekend getaway from Tokyo.
Favorite piece of furniture in your apartment/office?
I like the new table we got for our showroom, as it has a very minimal, modern Japanese feel.
Last show you binge-watched?
Master of None season two.
Secret to hosting a good party?
Good food and good company.
What is a trend that you like right now?
I love big and easy silhouettes — comfort is so important.
One you don’t understand?
I’m not a huge fan of too tight or too revealing.
What’s another decade you’d like to live in and why?
I love the ’90s as I grew up in the era. There are so many great styles that came out of that time too.
What’s one piece of clothing you can’t part with?
My favorite pajamas.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
What’s your favorite…
Oversize T-shirt dress.
Baies by Diptyque.
Pair of jeans?
I love the Japanese denim we’re doing at ADEAM.
“été” by Chef Natsuko Shoji in Tokyo is such a special experience. Each dinner is personalized for the guest, and Chef Natsuko takes you on a true culinary journey.
I love my ADEAM Japanese cotton T-shirt. I can wash it every day, and the fabric never thins out or wrinkles.
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