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A brand of contradictions: Muveil celebrates 10 years of pursuing modest happiness

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Michiko Nakayama

By Yoko Tanimoto / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterWhen starting her own brand in 2007, Michiko Nakayama came up with the name Muveil by incorporating the French word for lily of the valley, “muguet,” a flower whose beauty hides the poison in its roots.

“Sweetness and poison — that’s the kind of contrary brand I aimed to make,” she said.

The designs by Nakayama, who describes herself as “an introvert and daydreamer,” burst with her playful spirit. Over the past 10 years, Muveil has developed into a brand that has captured the hearts of many women. It’s particularly loved for its elaborate embroidery incorporating plant and animal motifs.

Nakayama’s aim for a brand that embraces contradiction is seen in Muveil’s 2017-18 autumn/winter collection, which takes a page from Marie Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI of France. For example, a romantic tulle blouse is paired with pants reminiscent of slacks, while a parka-style coat sports an elegant rose embroidered on the back.

Nakayama said she’s enjoyed embroidering since elementary school. She graduated from fashion school in 2000 and worked at an apparel maker before launching her own brand.

Her brand’s fine handiwork and playful spirit can also be found in the accessories and other small items she designs.

The brand’s lineup includes four grandma dolls, which are sold every season in different outfits. Collectors of these items can be found both in Japan and abroad.

In recent years, Muveil has been working with other brands such as Repetto and Fred Perry, creating a new fascination with Nakayama’s label.

The Gallery Muveil store in Minamiaoyama, Tokyo, reopened in September following renovations, and its second floor offers antique buttons and patches from a handicraft store in France, among other items. Customers can sew these patches onto their Muveil clothes, which are either items in their wardrobes or the brand’s latest offerings, or change out the buttons on them.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Grandma dolls in fashionable clothing

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Gallery Muveil offers a selection of patches that you can sew onto your own clothing.

  • Photos courtesy of Muveil

    Selections from Muveil’s 2017-18 autumn/winter collection

“I hope our customers bring their own personalities to Muveil attire to make it shine more,” Nakayama said.

The designer is concerned about today’s fast fashion trend, in which clothing is mass-produced and sold in a short cycle in the global market.

“Because we live in this kind of age, I want to meticulously create clothing that can be held close and cherished forever by wearers,” Nakayama said. “I hope I can convey a kind of modest happiness through my clothing and small items.”Speech

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