Tokyo Fashion Week Comes to a Close-------
Throughout Tokyo fashion week, we’ve had Misha Janette reporting on the city’s most exciting shows. To see Style.com’s complete Tokyo fashion week coverage, click here.
Saturday marked the sixth and final day of Tokyo fashion week, and it was dedicated to the city’s top menswear designers. Comme des Garçons itself doesn’t show in Tokyo, but it was exciting to see its youthful Ganryu label (left) take to the catwalk. Designed by Fumito Ganryu, who was formerly a patternmaker for Junya Watanabe, Ganryu showed a Fall '13 range that catered to an urban huntsman—a man who pairs cable-knit sweaters and puffy down vests with super low drop-crotch pants and high maintenance coifs. A dress shirt with trompe l’oeil vest appliqué showed off Ganryu’s progressive nature.
Facetasm focused on separates in its collection of layered workwear-cum-dress clothes. Kilts, slips, peplums, and sleeve-only bolero jackets all made an appearance. Each piece boasted its own details, like basket-weaving and original line drawings of a forest or old-school tattoos. For the women, there were formfitting silhouettes with pastel-colored ruffled trim.
Making its debut on Saturday was Mr. Gentleman, a brand headed by Takeshi “Big-O” Osumi of popular menswear brand Phenomenon, and Yuichi Yoshii, who is the director of Tokyo’s top multi-brand superstore, The Contemporary Fix. Together, they produced a casual and modern wardrobe that featured slim-cut tweed leisure suits and retro letterman jackets. For a twist, the designers showed a leather-lined and zipper-trimmed peacoat and an argyle-print jacket.
The week closed with a large-scale installation show by new label C.E. With former BAPE designer Skate Thing at its creative helm, the brand used 3-D mapping technology to create a kaleidoscopic fashion feast. C.E.’s standouts, like hoodies and colorful board shorts, furthered the familiar urban look that Skate Thing does best.
Jun Okamoto must be a morning person—at least, that’s what his Fall ’13 prints would suggest. Images of cartoonish coffee beans were used on all of his tights and splayed over fluid dresses. Other items were decidedly sophisticated, like star-print column dresses and skirts. Continuing in the daybreak theme, he offered men’s sweaters in vivid orange ombré and blue.
Yoshio Kubo’s menswear collection was slick and aerodynamic—in fact, the glossy silver wigs and chrome makeup evoked an image of bullets shooting down the runway. His clothes were covered in an eclectic tool print (think hatchets and saws), and a few vests with a feather pattern were sprinkled into the mix.
GVGV (above) is one of Tokyo fashion week’s hottest tickets, and its retro fetish-themed latex and leather collection did not disappoint. The brand is all about femininity with attitude, so an image of a pinup dominatrix covering a heather grey suit was a pitch-perfect addition to the easier commercial pieces. Fur printed with orange plaid or exaggerated houndstooth also made an appearance, and the show finished with full-on maids’ outfits, complete with ruffled aprons.
The day closed out with bohemian brand Fur Fur, who presented an unusually monochromatic and minimal collection. The label showed a series of simple black capes and dinner jackets that were devoid of its characteristic frills and ruffles. Meanwhile, over at Nozomi Ishiguro Haute Couture, children’s toys served as a Fall ’13 inspiration. Ishiguro’s outfits, which were made of disheveled stuffed animals, may have seemed playful. But the intricate patterns created by the 3D elephant, bear, and cat heads that protruded from the clothing provoked a how’d he do that? moment.
At Day Four of Tokyo Fashion Week, Yves Saint Laurent made a cameo on the Beautiful People runway. Well, his doppelgangers did, anyway. Designer Hidenori Kumakiri paid homage by giving male models a young Yves look and dressing his girls in Le Smokings. Set in a cigar bar replete with a live jazz band and smoking models, the show had a Mad Men mood, even though the actual clothes—like easy boleros, a pink duffle coat, and a furry shift dress—didn’t recall a particular era.
Presented at an old Frank Lloyd Wright-designed school, Somarta’s Fall ’13 range featured looks ripe for ladies who lunch and superheroes—quite the dichotomous mix. There were cocktail dresses, sleek jackets, and printed bodysuits. Knitted furs in extreme red tones paired with fitted lamé dresses had a punkish feel.
Gut’s Dynamite Cabarets (above) is Tokyo’s answer to The Blonds. The label always focuses on embellishment, which this season came in the form of jackets and skirts covered in miscellanea. Think full-carcass fox-fur collars, colorful pom-poms dangling from epaulets, intricate sequined patterns, and crow-feather hems. To top it all off, a few club-kid idols (some of whom were in drag) walked the runway.
The leather jacket is a staple in any stylish Tokyoite’s wardrobe. And thanks to 1 piu 1 uguale 3—a new private luxury line from AKM designer Tomohiro Ozawa—there will be lots of options to choose from this Fall. The designer showed off his inaugural collection via a runway romp that starred his friends. Of course, his friends just happened to be supermodel Ai Tominaga, rock musician Anna Tsuchiya, and a few other top actors and models. Talk about making a grand entrance.
Day Three of Tokyo fashion week was chock-full of the fringe fashion of Harajuku. The all-male group of models in Mikio Sakabe’s Fall ’13 show stomped down the runway with masculine conviction, but they did so in lavender crucifix-embroidered negligees, oversize cheerleader and schoolgirl uniforms, and boxer briefs sprouting limp flowers. Husband and wife designers Sakabe and Shueh Jen-Fang are self-professed “otaku” (übergeeks) who embrace the “anything goes” philosophy of anime and manga (comic books).
At Nozomi Ishiguro’s Tambourine show (left), models fumbled and stumbled down the runway like Harajuku-clad walking dead. The clothes were bright and colorful but printed with a serious collage that included photographs of brains and heavy religious iconography. The prominent pieces were oversize and asymmetrical with intricate furry patchwork.
Korean-based label Fleamadonna is a favorite of Tokyo’s street-style aficionados, and after watching designer Jei Kim’s show, it wasn’t hard to see why. Fall’s giant pink fur crop tops, patent crocodile poodle skirt, and silk motorcycle jacket with old “yankii” gang patches exuded a retro elegance that will no doubt be embraced by the street punks of tomorrow.
Giving a voice to the contemporary customer was Matohu, a brand that specializes in Japanese column robes made via modernized traditional couture techniques. Some pieces, like those covered in clear sequins, felt very “now.” Others, like the “shibori” tie-dye patterns, harkened back to yore. The curious headpieces were made in collaboration with surrealist artist Akiko Ban.
Closing the day was celebrity favorite Dresscamp. For men, the brand offered fashionable jungle prints, denim looks covered in leopard spots, and multi-convertible down overcoats. For women, there were camouflage cocktail dresses that blossomed with enormous fuchsia ruffles.
“Fashion thinks black and white are the be-all, end-all,” said Anrealage designer Kunihiko Morinaga during Day Two of Tokyo fashion week. “But we’re surrounded by digital screens in vivid colors, so our clothes could reflect that world,” he explained. The highly innovative brand’s Fall wares did just that. Using fabric printed with rapidly switching photochromic dye, Morinaga’s offerings turned from white to vivid pastels at the blink of an eye when exposed to intense light. Blazers went from pure off-white to color-blocked, and a maxi dress revealed a geometric pattern and houndstooth. This showmanship was rewarded with raucous applause, a rarity at the usually subdued Tokyo shows.
Koji Udo’s Fall ’13 collection for menswear label Factotum was inspired by Charles Bukowski’s 1971 darkly comic novel, Post Office. The result was a lighthearted range of tailored retro suit-and-tie looks paired with colorful heavy-duty coats. Day Two also marked the debut of designer and artist Yu-Ya’s new brand Melantrick Hemlighet. The inaugural collection was based on the circus, and the designer sent his models out in girly looks printed with surreal collages of tents and performing animals. Staying true to his theme, Yu-Ya traded the traditional runway for a “tightrope”-looking catwalk, which was set in a forest of hanging lightbulbs.
The day closed with Vivienne Tam’s party celebrating her fifteenth anniversary in Japan. She brought along her Fall ’13 collection for a remixed show, as well as deejay friends from New York who kept revelers out dancing all night.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo kicked off late Sunday with a “sayonara” show by Mastermind Japan, one of Tokyo’s most successful brands in the new millennium (Karl Lagerfeld is a longtime fan). After fifteen years on the scene, Mastermind is going on an indefinite hiatus, and its luxe skull-embellished leathers and furs will certainly be missed.
Monday marked the first full day of shows, and it proved that the cerebral, moody clothing forged by luminaries such as Yohji Yamamoto is still “in,” contrary to the stream of “kawaii” (or “cute”) Japanese fashion fads of today. Young talent Christian Dada showed an impressive Fall 2013 collection (left) that featured embroidered baroque patterns in gold and black, and pants made of quilted down material that created a blocky, flat silhouette. The shoes were not only outrageously tall but sprouted whole feathered birds made in collaboration with couture cobbler Masaya Kushino.
Dressedundressed’s black, white, and red collection was inspired by vampire B-movie The Hunger, and boasted sharp tailoring on everything from blazers to hoodies. Japan is home to some of the world’s most innovative textile mills, and Tokyo’s designers benefit from being able to work closely with them. Dressed has gone and produced a new wax-coating technique for cotton that makes the fabric look so lightweight, one might think it could float.
Another brand that utilizes Japan’s textiles is Mint Designs, which is famous for engineering “inside-out” jacquards printed with quirky patterns like cartoonish characters or charming phrases. The Fall collection introduced coats adorned with flocked patterns, which turned out to be the titles of past collections such as Happy Mistake. The day closed out with a dramatic show by gothic brand Alice Auaa. Telling the story of a girl who transforms into a spider, the mechanical crinolines and Lolita dresses forged from purple hair provided a delightful spectacle from start to finish. Same goes for the fans in the audience—they dressed to impress the dark side.