What is it about Paris? Even the run-down old garages look like romantic movie sets. And the one that Takahiro Miyashita found in the Bastille (faded paint on the walls read pièces détachées"spare parts") was more romantic than most, which made it the perfect backdrop for his new show. Titled My Own Private Portland, it was the latest installment of Miyashita's ongoing romance with Kurt Cobainthis time, however, with River Phoenix in the mix (under the matchmaking influence of Gus Van Sant).
One easy way to grasp the presentation would be to see it as a male counterpart to the epochal collection that Marc Jacobs presented for Perry Ellis at the height of grunge in the early nineties. Miyashita drew in every sartorial cliché of the time (yes, it was Seattle that stole the spotlight, but Portland eventually asserted itself): plaid shirts, thrift-shop jackets, shabby knits, broken-down footwear, re-purposed dadwear, and jockwear. But, like Jacobs, Miyashita detailed those clichés so lovingly that they transcended their familiarity. Looking at a long, belted cardigan, one assumes an ironic slacker reclamation of Starsky's defining item, except that there is no such thing as irony in Japan's wholehearted enthusiasm for and appreciation of Americana. Hence, a blanket-check jacket with elbow patches and leather-covered buttons, or a jock's leather jacket worn over a washed-out baseball shirt, or the corduroy jacket with herringbone pants, or the Elmer Fudd hats and fringed moccasin boots (there were matching gloves somewhere in there). There was a lot going on, and it cameas they sayfrom a place of love. And that made it the most appealing Number (N)ine collection to date.