Kei Ninomiya. Photograph by Fumihito Ishii.
Kei Ninomiya. Photograph by Fumihito Ishii.

Like Junya Watanabe before him, 31-year-old Kei Ninomiya began his career working for Comme des Garçons, where Rei Kawakubo, the enigmatic force behind the Japanese empire, encouraged him to start his own line. Launched with little to-do more than two years ago, Noir Kei Ninomiya remains a quiet entity under the Comme des Garçons umbrella, turning out a handful of conceptual pieces each season. Most are intricately wrought in Ninomiya’s favorite hue. “Black is a strong color,” explains the designer, who briefly studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp before being tapped by Kawakubo. “I use it to create strong forms of expression.” His spring collection, which is available at Dover Street Market, includes a smock dress made from hundreds of delicately layered faux-leather flowers, and a biker jacket embroidered with waves of pearls. “The point,” he states reticently, “is to create forms no one has ever seen before.”

Jacket from Noir Kei Ninomiya. Courtesy of the designer.