The symbiosis between mens- and womenswear is the oldest fashion story ever told, but it's been coming on sledgehammer-strong for Fall. Limi Feu
's show was proof that the Japanese have an instinctive head start on the trend. The designer literally expanded on classic elements of men's dressing: stretching a white shirt to the floor; elongating a ribbed gray cardigan to mid-calf; sweeping the floor with a kilt. Limi turned the back of a cadet jacket into an exercise in draping. This neat little reversal happened a few times. A topcoat turned into a cape, a peacoat became a massively hooded parka. Maybe it was the gender integration that inspired an oversize double-breasted jacket with sleeves cut from a blurry floral print. More twisted: a floral nightshirt under a gray flannel biker jacket whose sleeves had been slashed open to reveal the same flowers inside.
Androgyny—which sounds a little crisper than "non-gender-specificity"—is an ongoing game in Japanese fashion, so it was diverting to focus on the less ambiguous (through Western eyes, at least) aspects of Limi's collection. The dresses, for instance. A polka-dot dress in various permutations had a dust bowl chic-ness. The finale pieces were made unexpectedly revealing by fabric that was slashed open at the side. The character in these clothes was hard to define. That much was audible in a soundtrack that veered from bagpipes to the Stones' "Street Fighting Man." Put them together and they imply Celtic toughness. As trite as the notion of the urban warrior may now be, Limi Feu could have been dressing a new breed.