10 posts tagged "Jun Takahashi"
Hedi Slimane sent out dresses that called to mind the “kinderwhore” fashion pioneered by Courtney Love and company during grunge’s nascent years. But the Saint Laurent designer wasn’t the only one who embraced baby dolls for Fall. At Valentino, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli updated the youthful silhouette with couture-level craftsmanship, while Emilio Pucci’s Peter Dundas and Undercover’s Jun Takahashi showed wispy lingerie-inspired takes on the trend. For proof that the abbreviated shape has legs off the catwalk, look no further than Alexa Chung, who can rock a mini like no other—those pins! Sky Ferreira, meanwhile, could’ve passed for Love’s sophisticated little sis in the sparkly Saint Laurent number she wore to the Met Gala.
No yang is complete without a yin—exactly why designer Jun Takahashi has created a womenswear line to go with his already existing Nike x Undercover Gyakusou men’s collection. The designer, a dedicated member of the Tokyo-based runners club Team GIRA, first decided to combine his athletic passions with his design skills back in 2010, when he launched the menswear collection of light jackets and sneakers. The new womenswear collection, launching globally in mid-March, is equally full of function-meets-fashion pieces. Takahashi has thought of it all—carefully developed pockets for carrying keys in silence, underarm openings for max ventilation, and the list goes on.
But he does not sacrifice style. The womenswear collection, in natural colors like olive khaki, peat moss, and midnight fog, includes skirts with pleating (without compromising freedom of motion) and gathers in strategically placed spots for a slender look. Below, catch the new pieces in action in the label’s ad campaign video by director Katsuhide Morimoto.
At least one company is feeling bullish about the American market. Uniqlo, the Japanese retailer with a store currently in Soho, is opening its largest flagship yet, a vast 89,000-square-foot space at 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue. Come Friday, when the sleek glass doors are open to the public, expect crowds to mob the store for the $9.90 Japanese denim opening special or the super-lightweight down jackets (currently a best seller at the Soho branch).
But this morning, as Style.com did a preview walk-through with Uniqlo’s U.S. chief operating officer Yasunobu Kyogoku, the store was a sun-filled oasis of glass and steel. The retail experience opened with a cathedral ceiling with three banks of escalators leading to the third floor. There were colorful cashmere sweaters lining the walls, but no racks, which translated to an open feel.
“We wanted to give the customer a feeling of zen when they step in,” Kyogoku explained. From there, the retail experience—usually with most of the products at street level—was in reverse. The third floor was where the bulk of the merchandise was, including the first ever Uniqlo Innovation Project section: an athletic-meets-sportswear collection made with specially commissioned materials by Toray, a Japanese company that’s known for making the fuselages of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner. Around the bend was the mirrored tunnel of Heattech; the successful thermal line has expanded since hauling in 80 million units last year.
Fashion-forward shoppers will find the best wares on the second floor, where the first delivery of the J+ fall collection, designed by Jil Sander, hung pristine on the racks. It’s the last collection with Sander, but there’s more to look forward to. Uniqlo is following up Sander’s much-lauded collaboration with a collection by Undercover’s Jun Takahashi next spring. Plus, the retailer has ambitious plans for expansion. Along with a store on 34th Street opening a week later on October 21, Uniqlo is currently hunting for real estate in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. “There’s nothing to announce yet,” Kyogoku hedged. Although he added, “The chairman said the goal is to hit $10 billion in U.S. sales by 2020.”
Smart, functional design has always been at the heart of Jun Takahashi’s Undercover label. He’s a guy who looks up to industrial designers as much as fashion ones—he wears a leather watch emblazoned with Dieter Rams’ mantra “Less but better,” after all—and has long experimented with technical materials and function-first dressing. (He once shot a lookbook in a subzero Japanese forest to prove that his winter outerwear would keep even the skinniest model warm—and it did.)
Takahashi’s recent interest in running was reflected in collections as far back as Spring ’10, but he’s now taking the hobby even farther, partnering with Nike to create a collection of runner’s gear. (That’s him modeling it above, with his runners’ club, Gyakusou, from the Japanese for “run the wrong way,” thanks to the preference for heading counterclockwise around the city’s parks. The club also lent the collection its name.) The collection includes light jackets, rip-stop and stretch pants, Dri-Fit shirting, and sneakers, with details like a sleeve window to check your watch and pockets designed to keep keys and coins from jingling. Those are functional improvements you’ll notice if you run, like Takahashi does, up to 13 kilometers every other day. Then there are the purely aesthetic ones, like red piping tracing the body’s artery vein—one functional accessory paying tribute to another.
Keep reading to see Jamie Morgan’s stop-motion video of Takahashi and the Gyakusou club running in Tokyo. Continue Reading “Gear For Those Who Run Against The Tide” »