I have a special place in my heart for Kitsuné—years ago the label’s flagship compilation releases turned me onto entirely new genres of music. Their “Sweet Sixteen Issue,” the sixteenth iteration, is due out November 3rd. To celebrate, they’ve enlisted the likes of 23 different illustrators to come together in reimagining the series’ familiar album artwork. It’s a switch up for the music label/fashion brand/design shop, but certainly a welcomed one that’s sure to put a spotlight on a bunch of talented individuals.
Under the impulse of Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki, Maison Kitsuné was founded back in 2002. A trip to Japan inspired the two to unite their passions around a wholly single concept: a structure of multiple guises, combining fashion, music, and design. Since then they’ve firmly established themselves as a unique concept of trendy and modern luxury intermingled between fashion and music. Their boutiques now span from New York, to Paris, and Tokyo. Most recently they rocked the New York Fashion Week with their ‘Effortless French’ campaign and have begun opening cafés in France and Japan.
2005 saw the release of their first Compilation Kitsuné Maison. These mixes quickly came to people’s attention by signing the talent of artists like Simian Mobile Disco, Hot Chip, Two Door Cinema Club, Gossip, Digitalism, Cut Copy, and many more. To me, they’ve got an ear for upcoming talent and usually bring them to the scene before anyone else.
The music’s great and all, but what immediately managed to capture my attention about the compilation releases was the artwork. Created by co-founders, Åbäke, it’s visually simple but extremely striking. Save for some divergences here and there, the releases always feature the familiar line-art featuring the illustrated faces of that release’s musicians. Hey—if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right?
This year they’re switching the artwork up with fresh new work composed of drawings by 23 exciting new illustrators scouted by the label. Each artist was founded on Instagram and asked to illustrate, in their own way, one of the sixteen musicians featured on the mix. Loaëc states “Maison 16 is more gentle and tender than its predecessors… [It’s] constantly morphing into new shapes and ideas.”