Welcome to Tokyo Telephone’s up-close and personal visit to the Cocoon 5 exhibition, where Balmung, Runurunu and Bodysong get the chance to translate the stunning installation that we saw at Tokyo Fashion Week (here if you missed it) into clothes that are going to be the talk of the streets of Tokyo before too long. The installation was held in a chilly gallery in Shinjuku where they had as ever, gone the extra mile to create a curated environment, buzzing with music, lights and the handmade structures that these guys quite literally put together themselves. I always have such an admiration for young designers in Tokyo, and the Cocoon team in particular, because they don’t think anyone owes them anything,which means they don’t let their ego convince them that they don’t need to get their hands dirty during the creative process.
For this exhibition Hachi, the designer of Balmung, had created a black cage for his collection to hang in, surrounded by conceptual armor and shields that fit nicely with his pop-culture inspirations. His theme this season, is a nightmare to convey if you don’t speak Japanese, but is best explained as taking ideas of surface tension, shattering crystals and resonance. This has manifested itself in a significantly more aggressive collection than his previous work, and puts it in sharp contrast to his most recent amorphous collection he produced in collaboration with an Akihabara idol. This time his shapeless silhouette is still present, but this time with added sharp geometric panels thrown into the construction and defined prints of dark abstract imagery, that I am glad to report don’t repeat over any two items in the collection. The sharp lines, images of flames and fists, as well as the crystals Balmung has always been interested in are inventively introduced in items rather than always being placed on the chest or back as is the norm, and even the basic items are all the better for it. Hachi has also stepped up the quality of fabrics, with feather light rayon mixes brought in, and oppressively hot technical fabrics in the large outerwear (you could probably climb Everest in a Balmung outer!).
It is also a slightly smaller collection that we have been used to in the past from Balmung, but rest assured that this is mostly because he has been producing work for a number of other places that we will be covering very soon indeed.
Talking to Hachi, it is clear that the issue of mass-production is going to be the next hurdle for him. He is afterall an artist, and his ever-increasing popularity necessitates widening his team – but I have every faith in him that he will bridge that gap.
The black, gold and white pattern was just perfect, and really highlighted his clever construction which is exemplified in the white shirt on the far left.
The printing on leather looked fantastic, and that is actually a pocket as you will see below:
Rebecca and I both fell for this bag. I know it is lazy to pick items that are easy to integrate, but I don’t think I have anything to apologise for in picking the relatively easy path into the Balmung world.
So there you have it, the first part of 3. Join us tomorrow for the amazing Bodysong.