Fashion can often have the weight of the world on its shoulders with people left, right and center demonizing it as the cause of ills of society, rather than being a mirror held up to it. A number of interviews I have conducted on kawaii culture have met with a pretty negative reaction from those who view that fashion as a poisonous diversion in the way of Japanese women donning the power suit required for them to take a women seriously. A dangerous notion all round as it posits that femininity in fashion is inherently bad for society, and that the male standard of business should be charmingly imitated lest the hulls of these male institutions be breached. At any rate it is a situation unfolding, and I am quite confident that fashion will prove the most visible means of monitory these shifts in society.
Which is all a very long-winded way of introducing this collection from Et Momonakia, an alternative to the kawaii path and one pretty much supported by a number of brands at Tokyo Fashion Week (a fundamentally Western institution – make of that what you will), including the S/M themed one from G.V.G.V, but none captured the mood of the moment quite like this collection.
For a start, in a real rarity for the Tokyo Fashion Week shows the models were all Asian, and mostly Japanese. Whereas many other designer’s vision of a “strong” women was a statuesque Western women it was a real pleasure to see this very evident side (especially in the fashion industry) captured with local models. The make-up was pleasantly harsh, with sharp red lipstick employed on those whose features suited it and eyeliner so sharp you could set your watch by it.
The look brought in a nice number of masculine tailoring textiles and shapes, but kept it soft enough to keep the collection commercial.
Accessories and shoes were a play of textures, the hard mixing with the soft.
Harsh blocks of colour exaggerated the strong shapes, this jacket in particular looking very bold indeed.
Again contrast is key, above the bows are rendered sharp, below the metallic bow-tie sits on fur.
But here is where the show got really interesting, after the models had made their appearance they gathered and began to circle a line of chairs, and yes, you have guessed it, when the music stopped they all ran for the nearest chair.
The fashionable musical chair game was clearly played in earnest, with no clear planned winner and the models looking very serious as they pushed and grabbed for their seats.
One by one the models were eliminated until we had our winner who was rewarded under the red light with a chinchilla fur coat that is probably going to require a could of month’s salary to procure.
With this final twist the design duo behind Et Momonakia showed the determination and drive Japanese women have to succeed, it is a side familiar to all of us who work in Japan, but one rarely seen in the media. Rest assured that they are on the rise, and if Et Momonakia continues with this slight shift in trajectory, then they will most likely be dressing them.