What a difference a single season in fashion can make! Cast your mind back to Ato’s last season (or click here), and there really is a striking difference between that and their current season, which is presented in a brief lookbook rather than the full runway show we were treated to last time. I would advise that you don’t read too much into it though, these things do happen in Japanese fashion, sometimes a brand like Gut’s Dynamite Cabarets will put on a show that rocks Fashion Week, and sometimes they will even miss a season. I suppose there is less integration with Tokyo Fashion Week as a whole compared to other countries’ Fashion Week, but I think it also comes down to certain brands having a couple of key stockists that are pretty safe bets each season, so there is no real desire to push the envelope too much or reach out to a new audience. I know it annoys certain fans of Japanese fashion who live abroad no end, but so many mid-size brands in Japan are quite happy with their lot in life and don’t feel the need to even have a website, beyond a basic blog – but I digress.
The means which Ato have delivered their collection may be different, but their core aims to find a bit of refinement and chic in Japanese fashion is unchanged. This time, they are trying to mix elements of summer fashion into winter with a warm, but cool collection. You can expect flashes of exposed skin and plunging necklines, next to deep shearling and crisp tailored jackets paired with rich fur. The contrast is a proven one, and add to that the 90s styling, and you have something that feels a little bit retro as well.
There are lots of sharp pieces crammed into the lookbook, and more than enough luxurious velvet and plush leathers to elevate the look above the norm, I just wonder if people would recognise that you were wearing Ato? I mean, I have a lot of drapes from Ato that I could spot were Ato from a mile off, and maybe the lookbook is just deliberately pristine. I would just like a couple more items that set the brand apart – I suppose I will have to wait till this hits retail to find out if there are or not.
The jacket on the far right is a real winner for me – those are the kind of dandy references I like to see in Ato.