March 04, 2011 Paris
A bit like Anna Sui or Vivienne Westwood, Tsumori Chisato generally operates in a trend-vacuum outside fashion's city limits, but that so-called gorilla arm is one she hit head-on. It was repeated in a loden wool coat, which, if you looked closely, had masquerade-ball masks as its toggles. That was part of the surreal direction of the last half of the collection, which all began with a Schiaparelli-esque print of disembodied hands and faces. It led to Chisato's take on twenties-era elegance, like a Tokyo-via-Deauville striped sweater with a glittery pink star on its shoulder, or a sweater-knit jumpsuit that gave the trompe l'oeil effect of a chic little Chanel-ish suit and blouse. Perhaps it was just the nature of the ladylike source material, but there was a slightly more grown-up attitude to Chisato's typically childlike wonderment. It wasn't a whiplash change by any means; more of an annex in the happy little world her die-hard fans adore.