Mihara Yasuhiro is a worry. From being one of the inspirational high points of the Paris menswear calendar, with shows that so effectively married cutting-edge tech to a profoundly human touch that could bring tears to the eyes, he has scaled down radically. Now he prefers to show in a boutique in the Palais Royale, with models walking around desultorily to a beat box. Needs must if it's a budget issue, but on a conceptual level Mihara has also downscaled. Where Miharayasuhiro's clothes once had the most peculiar, haunting poetry, they are now a perfectly explicable, linear variation on a theme.
Today's, for instance, was a movement called the Tokyo mods, an organic offshoot of the mod movement in London. Skinny-suited, small-boned mod has infiltrated all over this season. Admittedly, Mihara's take is likely to stand as the most original, but by his own standards he showed a subdued, downbeat collection. His signature hybrids were in full effect, like the half-and-half shoes that have developed an ardent following, and the coat-and-parka twofers. There was also his blend of classic Japanese artisanship with urban Tokyo edginess, here exemplified by a fusion of the eighteenth-century artist Ito Jakuchu and the contemporary painter Udaka Kentaru. The result mixed traditional calligraphy with glittering clouds, puddles of shine, and an aggressive, graffiti-like blur. It was the high point of the collection.
The music, by the way, sounded like psychobilly heard down a subway tunnel. It was Mihara's own mutant mix of old rock 'n' roll tracks, and when he described it, the lo-fi-ness of the whole presentation suddenly seemed so deliberate that you were left wondering if this was one more genius performance. Guess we'll just have to stay tuned.