Out of all the seventeen floors of the Trans Art Tokyo art exhibition (introduction here if you missed it), without a shadow of a doubt the most important from a fashion perspective was the eighth devoted entirely to the Coco-ten exhibition from Coconogacco. Coconogacco is the brainchild of a group of designers and fashion visionaries ably led by Mikio Sakabe and WrittenAfterwards’ Yoshikazu Yamakaza, the name in Japanese literally meaning “A school of the here and now”. Under the tutelage of the aforementioned designers the school takes on a very small amount of students and guides them into the world of Japanese fashion in an aggregation of talent that must too be a source of inspiration for the designers in return.
We will be looking at the installations from the Coconogacco students in the coming days, but we thought it best to start in reverse with a look at the fashion show from the students and WrittenAfterwards that ended the Trans Art Tokyo exhibition.
The show itself was entirely guerrilla in nature, breaking out in the corridor of the Tokyo Denki University corridor with guests flanking the walls. It was not filmed, nor was there a photographer area, instead this was a show for the sake of it, not mattering if it was picked up in a magazine or not, just a celebration of the here and now.
As the show progressed each set of models would leave the catwalk going to their respective rooms where they would then stand in their respective dioramas.
The mixture of sound, crowds and claustrophobic squat-like setting made for a great show that I am not going to forget for a long time. I think it helped that everyone who knew about it or was invited was a die-hard WrittenAfterwards or Mikio Sakabe fan meaning that we were all the right frame of mind to enjoy it. For the record I still wince when I look at the model in the middle’s gangrenous leg spewing pearls.
The work obviously walks the line between fashion and art, but there is most certainly room in Japanese fashion for that.
Chiaki Moronaga’s work is without a doubt that in closest alignment to the fashion side of things – she has been nailing this style long before it took to the Tokyo streets.
The floor or her room was strewn with an awkward mix of sand and bone…
We will be having a close look at this particular designer in much greater detail in the second part of our report.
A very peaceful space.
And a very disturbing one.
Keisuke Yoshida’s presentation was actually acted out with the help of the kabuki stage hands you see in the bottom right.
This show was also the end of WrittenAfterwards’ Adam saga, but that is probably only of interest to those of you who have been following his project since the very beginning.
Stand by for a whole lot more in the second part and rejoice that Tokyo is still capable of throwing out fashion surprises like this!