Banzai from designer Yoruko Banzai held his latest (he largely eschews seasonal collections) exhibition “Equation” in Aquvii Harajuku which is promised to be the first in a series of 3 that will complete the overall concept. Compared to his exhibition this time last year hosted by Centre Pompidou and his work with Primitive London, this was a much more toned down affair, but felt mature and much more ready for retail than anything I have yet to see from him. It is all very well and good producing massive plush tiger backed jackets for the likes of Verbal, but you do have to at some point balance that with work for civilians who want a wearable chunk of your vision in their wardrobes. It is a path that Balmung, Bodysong and runurunu, as well as stockist and friend of Banzai, ilil seems to be treading lately, and it is gratifying to see more and more people actually wearing these brands on the street in coordinates that don’t scream “fashionista”.
The exhibition was at Aquvii that sits almost exactly halfway between Harajuku and Shibuya, and is a place you can always rely upon for clean, design-centric fashion.
The collection expanded on Banzai’s range of bags and harnesses, leaving actual clothes to be revisited at a later date. His cartoon-esque proportions and colours were as strong as ever, in well-judged combinations that give his work an almost hyper-realistic feel. Careful matching of zip and stitching colours with his flawless leathers make the bags look almost plasticky (in the best possible way!) and when combined with the clean chrome hardware make for something uncannily perfect. Add to that the recent innovative addition to the line-up or see-through PVC tubes to his harnesses which Banzai then fills with chains and even pearls, and you have got something really special on your hands.
These are his current season bags which are currently availably in Wut Berlin and ilil.
More fantastic harnesses, which along with DressedUndressed versions look set to be the next trend item of Tokyo underground fashion.
Our host wearing a Banzai jumper from the very first “0” collection.
Another interesting addition to the bags is the light wooden hardware which looks particularly good in the strap of the bag on the left.
There is a choice of straps for each bag, so there is ample opportunity for customization if you so desire.
The pearls looking particularly good with the lilac and wooden centerpiece belt.
The exhibition will run to the 6th of June, so if you are in Tokyo this is well worth a look, and bearing in mind how quickly he sold out of Wut Berlin, you might do well to move fast.
And as a little bonus, I caught Lactose Intoler-Art having his picture snapped by Rid as I was leaving – now there is a man who would suit a Banzai bag…