Tokyo Fashion Week aims to become aspirational showcase for designers
Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo S/S 2019 was marked by a number of both debuts and veteran comebacks for the “At Tokyo” program. While the fashion week aims to gain in popularity with its consumer-oriented approach, both Tokyo and its seasoned designers seem keen to make the week an aspirational showcase again. The goal – to shake off its reputation as a fashion week from which emerging talents “graduate,” as winners of Fashion Prize of Tokyo have previously followed the well-trodden path of moving on to Paris.
Standing out from the gaggle of young designers still struggling to propose coherent collections, Kotohayokozawa made a spot-on debut for its first show in the official Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo calendar. Born in 1991, Kotoha Yokozawa, who created her own label in 2015 after graduating from Esmod Tokyo, showed a fresh and creative vision of everyday life with her playful pop art-inspired collection. As though the designer had sent her wardrobe through a blender, basic items like knits, jeans, underwear, and swimwear were all cut and reconstructed like a work of collage. In addition to unique ideas such as skirts transformed in calico or T-shirts suspended on the fronts of trousers, everyday objects like clips, clothes pins, newspapers, or even tissue paper accessorized looks in arty but whimsical ways. Such spontaneity heralds a promising future for the label.
Founded nearly a decade ago, finalist for the International Woolmark Prize by Franca Sozzani in 2012 and winner of DHL design Award in 2013, Dressedundressed is one of the most typically “Tokyoite” of the established brands today. This season, designer Takeshi Kitazawa drew inspiration from restaurants for the set of his showcase of a sleek and androgynous collection with a faintly surrealistic sense of irony. Both men and women wore smart tailored jackets with a twist, such as the addition of handwritten messages, phone numbers, wine stains, or bold cut outs on the back. There was even a short theatrical performance at the end where models played out, in slow motion, the role of restaurant guests around a table.
Founded by design duo Hideaki Yoshihara and Yukiko Ode in 2013, heritage-inspired label Hyke is pursuing its global development with numerous capsule collections in link-ups with international brands such as Adidas Originals and Mackintosh, and notably with The North Face. This season, they staged a runway show for the first time to showcase their clean-and-clever reinterpretation of old military wear including a third collaboration with the VF-owned outerwear brand, starring parkas and jackets paired with pleated skirts, shirts and smocks worn backwards. All functional but elegant, this collection was an exact match for urban life in Tokyo.
An interesting vision of “kawaii”, one of the most popular aesthetics of Japanese pop culture. Taiwan-born designer Shueh Jen-Fang, a graduate from La Cambre, created Jenny Fax as a label for “ordinary girls” in 2010. There is always some dark humor in her dreamy, hyper girlish creations, certainly the unusual combination responsible for first piquing the interest of one of the buzziest stylists of the moment, Lotta Volkova, who styled this show. Statement voluminous shoulders, exaggerated puff sleeves, or layered lace underwear over girlish dresses -- all in the pastel hues with nostalgic motifs such as dots, stripes, checks or floral print -- formed a fanciful but somewhat dark effect.
For Amazon Japan’s “At Tokyo” program, four international veterans staged special runway shows. Of particular note was Anrealage, a regular on the official Paris calendar since 2014, who showcased a compilation of his 15 years of work with 100 looks in front of over 1,200 guests, from fashion students to consumers. For Kunihiro Morinaga, Tokyo Fashion Week was a stage that he had dreamed of before his debut, and now, he said, he’d like to “make it a desirable event again for everyone.” The limited-edition trench inspired by Amazon’s cardboard box was sold out soon after the show.
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