Series

RLOTW #6: Kitsuné

'Kitsune' is Japanese for 'fox' and in Japanese folklore, the fox has the power to change its appearance, which perfectly demonstrates the label’s many creative directions. What is more, it can even take on human form, implying that Kitsuné is the embodiment and personification of music and fashion.

Our Record Label of the Week series allows our writers to connect with their audience in a different manner; instead of presenting a new song they enjoyed or showcasing an artist they saw live, they attempt to explain the relevance and powerful presence of an entire label. Whether it houses a plethora of genres, or sticks to a specific theme, this series aims to provide students with a glimpse backstage – at the men and women that devote their lives to offering us the music that we care so passionately about.

Kitsuné is a French music and fashion label based in Paris. Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki founded the label in 2002 with the help of London based graphic design collective, Åbäke. The pair came up for the idea during a trip to Japan, which is also where they decided on the name and logo. ‘Kitsune’ is Japanese for ‘fox’ and in Japanese folklore, the fox has the power to change its appearance, which perfectly demonstrates the label’s many creative directions. What is more, it can even take on human form, implying that Kitsuné is the embodiment and personification of music and fashion. Since then, the record label have been at the heart of electronic and indie music, delivering a distinctly modern and often varied sound, which is well mirrored in their fashion lines. These are mostly playful, updated takes on the classics with un peu de Parisian flair.

Before his work with Kitsuné, Loaëc worked alongside Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and his label Roulé. He has clearly been ‘Around the World’ of electronic music, so his credibility is rather unquestionable. Kuroki, on the other hand, worked as an architect. Although not quite as cool as working with Bangalter, these days he uses his creative knowhow to create fresh new lines for Maison Kitsuné. The label is, therefore, a fusion of everything the pair hold dear – clothes, imagery and music – and their passion is apparent in every beat and every thread. The outcome is as stylish as you might expect. Très chic.

The list of artists with releases on Kitsuné is long and varied, and although their core is comprised of (mostly French) electronic music, this does not limit their musical foresight. On this side of the pond they have dabbled in many genres, ranging from indie rock by Bloc Party and Two Door Cinema Club, to electronic by Delphic and You Love Her Coz She’s Dead. They even had a hand in the birth of British nu rave with Hadouken! and Klaxons back in the mid 2000s, but I will leave it to you to decide whether that is a good thing or not.

However, what Kitsuné are best known for are their wide array of compilation and remix albums, which constantly play in the background of Urban Outfitters everywhere. The Kitsuné Maison Compilation series is in its fifteenth installment as of last year. And if that wasn’t enough, the label recently expanded into the club night scene (appropriately called Kitsuné Club Night), and is taking over Hollywood Boulevard next week to coincide with the second weekend of Coachella.

On the fashion side of things, Kitsuné currently have three flagship boutiques across the globe, in Paris, New York and Tokyo. Kuroki explains that it is not his aim to create anything new, but rather to master the classics. It is with this philosophy in mind that he combines heritage with a little style à la Parisienne to create a timeless and effortlessly trendy look. The Paris and Tokyo stores come complete with their very own Kitsuné Cafés, so you can grab a coffee and listen to some music while you shop, making Kitsuné the ineffably cool label at the heart of French electronic music.

Words: Lewis Dorer

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