Japanese-born designer Momo Suzuki has figured out what all women want. And that’s new clothes every season that seamlessly fit into our minimalist, chic wardrobes. Suzuki founded LA-based collection, Black Crane with her husband, also a designer, Alexander Yamaguchi. Together, they create, sought after, cult status pieces that routinely sell out at they most interesting boutiques around the world. (Totokaelo boasts the largest online selection of the brand.) Initially drawn to interiors, Suzuki understands architecture and with that spatial artistry, is able to create nuanced, yet simple silhouettes season after season. The duo is not afraid to experiment with new fabrics or dye techniques – each season feels new. The collection is produced in LA, including the fabric weaving.
You came to the US on your own when you were 14 – how scary was this?
Full of excitement and dream conquered fear. Especially, this was my own decision. I’m proud of my bravery to change my own future by choosing my own path. I was having doubts about Japanese education system and wanted to be in a place where it allowed me to have a more creative outlet.
Do you remember your earliest fashion memory? What made you fall in love?
My mother bought me simple flat white leather ballet shoes with tiny ribbon on the back when I was 7 as surprise gift. I still remember the feeling and how much it made me happy every time I wore them.
Before having your own brand, did you express yourself with your clothing?
I think so. I had a beautiful herringbone circle dress when I was 8 and one day I decided to wear it as poncho with my black corduroy pants.
When you launched Black Crane in 2008, you’ve now hit a cult status peak – did you ever expect the type of success you’re currently experiencing?
I’m not sure I can self-claim that we hit a peak and where we stand is not our interested, I rather see our brand growing slowly with our customers for a long period of time.
Black Crane’s clothes are subtle, well constructed, steady, and timeless – does this reflect your personality?
Absolutely. My creation is a reflection of my lifestyle.
What about your husband? Where do we see his influence and hand in the brand?
Especially in our color theme. I trust his color taste more than mine. He’s great at playing with unexpected color mixes.
How do you two work together?
My husband handles the direction of brand and I do the designing. But still, most of the decisions are made by both of us with long…long…discussions sometimes.
Can you tell us about your love of interiors? How did it begin?
My parents used to live in Germany for 5 years right before I was born. German simple and minimal design was a huge influence to my mother’s interior design aesthetic and she combined that with Japanese modern design to our home. I learned how an interior can shape your perspective from her. She would adopt the changes of the four seasons with a sutle gesture and I learned to respect less is more.
Many retailers are no longer just clothing stores, they offer accessories for the home and other lifestyle items – this must make a lot of sense for you?
Absolutely. I see clothes as a shell of your body that needs to align with your lifestyle. So it makes sense for many retailers to offer lifestyle items to share the same aesthetic to the clothing they carry.
What stores are doing it really well?
I feel like the stores that offer total lifestyle concepts are doing it really well. It is easy to visit and you will always find something exciting with new suggestions that you never imagined.
Do you plan to keep the brand relatively small? Where do you see yourselves in the next 5-10 years?
We would like to keep size of the brand as now and try to maintain and grow slowly with our current customers. I would like to see myself enjoying what I do now and keep creating what I believe in.