Androgynous fashion is not exactly a new phenomenon. But then, neither is the work of Atsuko Sano. After a decade designing and selling exclusively in her native Japan under the name AS Collection, this men’s jewelry producer has finally made her sleek, masculine pieces available to the international market. Sano’s genre- and gender-bending designs blur traditional boundaries in accessories design, inviting a new outlook on both personal ornamentation and stylistic interpretation.
Inspired by everything from the structural beauty of classic car design to the multiple meanings of Chinese ideograms, from formal dresswear to samurai culture, Sano’s designs evoke both familiar and foreign iconography. Recognizable symbols such as cross pendants and samurai swords are accompanied by abstract geometric and asymmetrical shapes in rings, bracelets, cufflinks and pins.
Sano approaches each piece more like a sculptor than an accessories maker. Her designs are customized to the narrative of a wearer’s life, drawing on the nuances and style of each hypothetical patron with the precision of a bespoke tailor. Sano’s materials are similarly deliberate: white gold and platinum form the base of rings, cufflinks and pins, black and clear diamonds appear as suggestive yet strong accents and outer details are drawn in 18-karat yellow and rose gold. The culmination of this far-ranging aesthetic can best be described as classic-modern for its intersection of old-world elegance and contemporary chic.
By customizing her designs around an individual story, Sano seeks to encourage masculine identity and style. Still, the appearance of AS Collection pieces in magazines such as Vogue, W and Harper’s seems to suggest that female patrons are similarly inspired by Sano’s sharp approach. By shifting from island-based isolation to international renown, and from a male-oriented audience to gender-defying appeal, AS Collection is expanding its aesthetic reach by breaking boundaries on all sides of the accessories equation.