Regular readers of this site should be familiar with the output of these rising stars of Japanese fashion, but if you aren’t then I advise you to read our coverage of their Cocoon 4 joint exhibition before you go any further. Now you might be thinking why we covering these same collections again? Well, the simple reason is that the massive structural monstrosities that these exciting brands put out may look like self contained (and often self-supporting) works of art in their own right, but that is really only half the picture. The real fun with these brands starts when you slot the human into the creation and let the two fight it out for supremacy. Make no mistake, these are not creations for the fashion civillians as the true difficultly with this kind of forward-thinking fashion is to make oneself the focus in the outfit and not let the clothes obscure you and descend into costume.
First up we have Balmung’s return to “Zero”, where designer Hachi has stripped back and restrained his Helvetica Standard collection (which we first wrote about here) to find the fundamental essence of his design work. The result is an unseasonably dark vision of blacks and grays where you can truly get a feel of Balmung’s distorted vision of the human body. Hi 3 fingered gloves and curved shoulders alude to a alien / mutated vision at first glance, but when considering the theme and talking it over with the designer I can’t help but see the human body being moved to a more primal state rather than a futurist form.
runurunu on the other hand channels simular structuralism and silhouettes, but his work, this year disconcertingly titled “Subliminal Alien”, seems to be far more expressive – as if exploding out of the body. This incoming season runurunu has joined Balmung in restraining his work towards wearability (or thereabouts anyway). There are a good number of items that could slot comfortably into a wardrobe rather than being his classic all in one voluminous dresses or tsunagi. On the other hand, I am all for people wearing runurunu head to toe and that is precisely what Sioux is doing in the lookbook:
Finally from this collective is Bodysong who has worked with the artist Yoshirotten under the name Bodyrotten (see what they did there?) to provide him with exceptionally cool underground artwork for his prints. For those not in the know, Yoshirotten is a frequent collaborator of Cannabis in Harajuku and pretty much every underground brand for that matter (his designs for LittleBig S/S 2012 are particularly good) with a clear talent for nailing the vibe of the moment in his artwork.
On the subject of Bodysong, it was a recent revelation for me to see his work worn on the catwalk at the Wut Berlin S/S 2012 Digital Gods catwalk show (report incoming!). His work has a fantastic amount of movement and a must say that his sportswear inspired work really suits a strong masculine silhouette as well as the originally intended slender female frame which you can see in his lookbook:
So there you have it, the brightest stars of the Japanese underground fashion scene, I do wonder if they will continue to work so closely together as their style continue to solidify, but at the moment it seems that this strength in numbers approach has seen them well in establishing themselves on the Japanese fashion map and all signs point to a rapidly expanding foreign audience, particularly elsewhere in Asia.