In the black-and-white mood piece that Limi Feu created in lieu of a show this season, her models, filmed in a grungy loft space somewhere in Tokyo, are alter egos of the designer herself. Same furious, lean, fast-motion energy. Today, in her showroom, Limi was doing the modeling, and clothes that were shapelessly huge or hard to grasp on the hanger leapt into angular life. The dungarees with the tiny bib front, for instance, or the tailored jacket with big, kimonolike inserts at the shoulders. Limi's own favorite was a waistcoat that had been pared to what amounted to lapel peaks that pointed upward like two big arrows. A dévoré-ed, silken caftan had also been dissected and put back together with big rings that suggested a bondage harness. No, not another Fifty Shades… reference, but Limi has been studying bondage traditions at home in Japan, a country that definitely knows how to tie a knot.

Maybe that has something to do with "the Japanese mood" Limi talked about capturing. As far as fashion goes, she has always been a tough, tattooed, bike-booted Stooges fan (there's still disbelief in her voice when she talks about her father, Yohji Yamamoto, not having a clue who Iggy is), but there was another quality in her new collection, a kind of bruised fierceness that suggested defensiveness—or protection—on one hand, and strength—or projection—on the other. The disaster 18 months ago still reverberates in Japan, not least for the younger generation of fashion designers battered by a shaky economy. There was something else in Limi's clothes, though—something that the artful dodginess of the lookbook missed. That was the sturdiness of worn clothes treasured, treated in a way to give them new value. And that said "survival."