In the summer, Jun Takahashi met the great German industrial designer behind Braun, Dieter Rams, at a Tokyo retrospective of his electronic products—the radios, hi-fis, calculators, and shavers that have become commonplace since the fifties. Rams' dictum, "Less is better," went into Takahashi's brain as a principle that should also apply to modern clothing. "In this economy," he said, "we should cut out the unnecessary." After getting Rams' blessing, he designed his menswear collection as an homage to the Braun aesthetic of minimal detail and functionality. And for Spring, he followed through with the equivalent for women, with the same industrial gray/khaki palette, orange buttons, perforated patches taken from stereo speakers, and narrow tan leather straps found in Rams' work.

Takahashi's interest in utilitarian products isn't a whim. The designer said he's taken up running, which got him thinking about incorporating the advanced fabric of high-spec outdoor wear into fashion design. "So, I've been naturally drawn into it," he said. In any case, the thought process is another step along the research path he's been following for several seasons as he's imported technological climate-control materials into clothing. On the general level, the anoraks, jackets, shorts, and dresses in the collection shed a different light on the interest in casual sport dressing that is rising this season. Takahashi's approach is one in which the scientific content aims to transcend mere styling. Still, his concentration on quiet product development, and his withdrawal from the runway for two seasons (he shot the collection images in Japan), have somewhat sidelined him as a voice in Paris.