To anyone who attended one of Jun Takahashi's provocative early Paris shows, it's slightly disorienting to find the designer showing everyday clothes at a showroom appointment. (It's a bit like seeing Oz exposed as just a guy behind the curtain.) But this is actually the second season that Takahashi has taken the quotidian wearability route.
For Fall, he posed his wife in front of various projected scenarios, pushing a grocery cart or having a glass of wine at home. Here, the backdrop was a comic strip called Underman. The animation, we were told, was an unrelated creative exercise; the damsel in distress and the evil anti-heroine simply happened to be wearing the designer's Spring clothes.
Those clothes, Takahashi explained, were meant to inject a vein of luxury and sophistication into casual street kit. This means a canvas car coat gets satin pockets, and T-shirts are made oversize by tailoring an extra panel of fabric under the arm. There was more life in miniskirts with silk fringe fronts and faded denim backs, shirts and pants with painted-on leopard and sequin prints, and an anorak with a wired hood. And last season's nylon shopping bag now comes in a papery glitter material. Takahashi hasn't jettisoned a sense of humor or wit.
At any rate, these two recent collections shouldn't be taken as evidence of a whole new gentler, more commercial business strategy chez Takahashi. The designer told us he's planning something "very different" for next Fall.