Christian Dada has been on an amazing journey since he first came onto our radar as the master of the Tokyo luxury punk boom that came out of select shop Candy’s relocation to Shibuya. He has always walked the line between high fashion and the street level, which arguably was an easier feat when he was closer to the latter and preaching to the converted holding guerrilla catwalks on the street infront of Fake Tokyo. His participation in Tokyo Fashion Week and eventual pressure that came with him becoming the face of the week forced a jump to the high fashion end of the spectrum with its own fair share of highlights. However, in his most recent collection it felt like balance had been restored to the Christian Dada universe with a collection that was wearable throughout, but still packed enough fashion dynamite to ensure that people continued talking about it long after the week was over.
Taking his theme from the mythical bird Fenghuang, from which the idea of the phoenix is derived, the collection gradually built to a fantastical feather strewn finale from an opening of streetwear basics. Key to the collection was Christian Dada’s extensive use of goldwork embroidery which turned up in the mock metal wire style traditionally associated with formal military wear, but then diffused into embroidery across an A-Z of fashion essentials. It was a reference to luxury and excess that still had the visual impact of his complete coverage studded pieces produced with 99%IS in the past, but felt elegant and fresh for the streets of Tokyo.
Here you can see the embroidery crop up in a more wearable piece, but still just as striking.
The show itself was accompanied by an angelic choir and the finale (above) bathed in white light to highlight the theme of accession to heaven, a nice metaphor for the work itself – the street level gradually leading to the celestial.
Some of the more street level ensembles:
Moving on to the showroom,
and we found the fantastic footwear used in the show high on the pedestals they deserve. Regular readers of this site should recognise the hand of Masaya Kushino by now, and his small collection of shoes for the show was like the main show, themed on a passage to heaven.
The mixture of the burdensome fur texture of the sole with the lightness of the feathers made for a great visual piece, even if they were a challenge for the models to walk in.
On to the main collection and there was a clear split between the embroidered side of the collection,
and the more street level offerings. As ever Dada’s line-up of crust denim and studded t-shirts is the backbone of the brand at shops like Candy, Fake Tokyo, but this time the studs were a matt rubber finish and felt a little more subdued.
The showpieces were actually very attractively priced and I could see these crop up at the street level, no problem.
I think the real appeal of Christian Dada comes from the fact that he makes the fantastical pieces we all lust over in fashion editorials, but for a street level. Anyone who dismisses the above for lacking the real gold wrapped silk thread that you might see in a haute-couture collection is pretty much missing the point. This is made for the street, and I for one think there is a significant value in the notion of creating for that audience, even if that level of fashion is only confined to a select number of cities around the world, that is far better than the select number of society gatherings that will be graced by couture.