I am sure that it can’t have escaped your notice that in our coverage of the Gypsy Three Orchestra – Orchestra Show project (coverage here and here), that in its primary goal of attempting to recreate the factors that created the amazing creative energy that we saw in 90s menswear, is doing the exact opposite of how Fake Tokyo approaches the fashion market.  Whereas G3O tries to create mystique, and street level movements powered by graffiti and stickers slammed on lamposts, Fake Tokyo has always flung everything out there, producing an endless stream of coordinates, item details and information.  However despite the disperate strategy, the end result is pretty simular for both: you get fashion movements that are fed directly from the designers workshops to the street level without barely any magazine coverage or other mechanisms in the way.  The Dinner group of designers that make up the Cocoon unit of Balmung, runurunu and Bodysong are perfect examples of this, and arguably went a further shade direct by actually making themselves the first means of communicating their fashion with the streets.

Long before anyone was stocking their work the designers started to turn up in Tune magazine or street snap sections of websites actually wearing their clothes head to toe.  This was the genuine catalyst for their initial success, and it is good to see that they still do walk around Tokyo as constant adverts for their own unique world view, except that now they are joined by a group of Tokyo’s bravest who share their perspective on fashion.  It may lack the subtlety of say, the dissemination of Blackmeans, but I don’t think a fashion movement that asks its followers to commit so strongly to a look could ever take off without the combined efforts of the designers to break the look and then avenues like Fake Tokyo to publicize it so explicitly.

With that off my chest I thought we would revisit the installation for one last look at the ideas behind the work.  If you start with Part 1 (here), hopefully you get the idea that you are being led into some kind of ceremony, Balmung’s models suspended in the air certainly had something ritualistic and vaguely sacrificial about them.

From there you continue to the back room where three men are occupied with all manner of electronic equipment, lights and flickering images on the wall.  It is not a huge leap to split off to the world of Shin Megami Tensei, whose designer Kazuma Kaneko (article here) runs in a very simular direction to these designers, and a vision of the latter works’ doomsday cults opening up a portal to another direction through computers is definitely not a reference too far for Bodysong.

From this area you continue towards a literal shrine of runurunu’s making.  Sacrificial candles lie next to masks, precious stones glint next to a pestle and mortar, and incense burns.

And what is the product of this ceremony?  The cocooned man who slowly crumbled to the floor as he struggled against the cocoon that consumed him:

The man inside did eventually burst out of his cage in a manner that Okamoto Taro would have approved of and dutifully paid his respects at runurunu’s red shrine before leaving.

I hope you are now as excited as I am to see the work that these designers have produced for the A/W 2012-13 season, and needless to say I will be covering it here as it happens.  If you want to see the installation in action then head on over to our video channel and subscribe for all that is to come.

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2 Responses to Cocoon 5 Installation – Breaking Out – Part 2

  1. Andrew says:

    Samuel, thanks so much for such an in-depth look at this event. I saw pictures elsewhere too, but with just pictures there’s no way I could understand (and appreciate) much of what was actually going on here. I also had to step back and read your old article on Kazuma Kaneko, which I hadn’t seen before. Very interesting the similarities you draw between designers in different mediums, who may not even know about each other–I’m talking here about Gareth Pugh and Kazuma Kaneko, and the point you made about using clothing/art as a way of distorting and drawing into question our notions of how we view the human body. And as you’ve stated in the past, the designers of this event really seem to be continuing in that tradition, to increddible effect. It’s no wonder that they seem to have caught your eye (and many others as well)! This seems pretty much explicit in the quote you cited in the earlier cocoon installation post, and that quote also gets me really excited to see what’s coming.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go check out dressedundressed’s catwalk show..

  2. Samuel says:

    @ Andrew

    Thanks, I much prefer to take my time and think about things rather than just slam images online – I mean you are never going to beat the sites who upload them seconds after the show! So I would rather try and understand the work rather than rush to “first”.

    I think often with similar designers who probably have no knowledge of each other, you have to just go back to try and find the common influences and aims with their work. Personally, I am really keen on the idea of body distortion as a purpose of fashion, whether done with impeccable subtlety like Rick Owens, or with a shotgun like runurunu.

    Oh and I bet you enjoyed DressedUndressed…

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