February 28, 2005 Paris
Strange morphings and trompe l'oeil effects are givens at Undercover. For fall, they involved menswear vests compressed onto felted shirts; cross and key necklaces printed onto T-shirts; scarves that grew out of lapels; and (sharp intake of breath all round) chrome chains and razor blades embedded in a white tuxedo jacket. New, skewed takes on tomboy dressing included cord drainpipes cut with the wale running horizontally, and sloppy, crushed-down biker boots, also in corduroy.
Some of Takahashi's raw edges and inside-out seaming veered too far into territory already covered by the designer's mentor, Rei Kawakubo; but things came back strongly for an original ending. The last few exits were outsize Mongolian-lamb coats and giant feather wraps, imitating the luxury outerwear shown on so many Milanese runways this season. Except that the Undercover versions are cut out of felt. An ironic comment? Hard to tell. But they looked ineffably cooler than most of the originals.