June 27, 2008
Mihara claimed inspiration from the artist Joseph Beuys for his new collection, and for once, a designer's effort to connect art and fashion not only made complete sense clothing-wise, but also produced a show that was enthralling on every level: styling, soundtrack, and set (rivulets of paint slowly, steadily leaked down the white backdrop). Beuys' signature lookfelt hat, fishing jacket, denimsfiltered into the collection in ways subtle and otherwise. That fishing jacket, for instance, appeared as a shirt, then reappeared as a coat. And denim was used for a tuxedo shirt. (Warhol loved Beuysand he'd have loved this shirt, too.) But it was equally Beuys' sensibility that inspired worn, soft clothes in colors that were bleached or faded. Imagine fabrics aged by earth, stained by water, scorched by fire, dried to a paperlike finish by air (the leathers were featherlight). Japanese fabric technology is famously advanced, but Mihara added soul to the machine. Dégradé animal prints and faded mosaics compounded the effect. Then the designer proceeded to embroider mermaids on the cuff of a jacket sleeve and stitch trompe l'oeil zippers on the pockets in a suit. (They looked like hungry little horror-movie mouths.) So there was wit and ingenuity in Mihara's madness. Beuys would have liked that.