January 21, 2011 Paris
It was also true that Mihara's Fall presentation felt more downbeat than his exultant offering for Spring. Maybe that was because this was a season of consolidation for him. His show attracted the biggest audience he's ever had in Paris, so it made sense that he should give them time to catch up. Mihara paraded all his signatures in new versions as refined as the metal cobwebbery longtime collaborator Husam El Odeh drizzled over lapels and shoulders. Asymmetry was beautifully rendered in a jacket whose lapel turned into a flowing scarf, or a duffel coat that mutated into a cape. The designer's fabrics were, as usual, like magic tricks: Tweed was actually jersey, traditional melton was knit, and jacquards were photo-printed to look like thick artisanal sweaters (in his final menswear collection, McQueen achieved a similar effect).
Muted and somber though the clothes may have been, Mihara still managed to subvert the Victorian-college-boys-gone-Wilde formality of his tailoring with an urgent sportiness that was more mosh pit than playing-fields-of-Eton. He had a lot of help from his wife Hiromi, she of the electrifyingly frizzed hair, who amped the energy level with the kind of performance on piano that has made her a star of the jazz world in Japan.