September 28, 2008
Jun Takahashi says he's bored of doing runway shows, so the all-white collection he presented was staged in a gallery, with fantasy art photos on the wall and a group of dummies in the center of the space. He'd named it "Graces," which turned out to be funny little half-dog, half-alien toy animals. Made by Takahashi himself in his Tokyo studio, they were perching on the shoulders of the mannequins. Quite what was going on with these "fairy tale" fluffy companions was hard to crack—possibly something to do with the Japanese love of the cute, combined with Takahashi's imagination as a subversive artist (his off-Harajuku workplace is full of his paintings and soft sculptures of doll-like monsters). As for the clothes, they were actually nothing conceptually freaky: layered sportswear, coats, and virginally romantic dresses with a lot of fine-thread fringing in the mix. The problem is that however you look at them, clothes on dummies don't have the animated appeal of clothes on a girl. Takahashi has every right to want to invent new ways of presenting (and it's a sensible way of thinking for cash-strapped young designers), but this season, it sold his clothes short.