Facetasm and Phenomenon held their A/W 2012-13 shows at Tokyo Fashion Week as a single event to be a self-proclaimed “headliner act” to the week of shows. A very bold claim indeed, but one that the pair of them indubitably lived up to, In other publications I have already talked about how good I thought Phenomenon’s show was (and we will be taking a closer look at it later this week here), but personally it was Hiromichi Ochiai’s brand Facetasm that had more to say about Japanese fashion now, and where it is most likely heading. At first glance it could have been a Phenomenon collection from a couple of season’s back, and it is true that the designer does refer to Big-O (Phenomenon’s designer) as his sempai, but on closer inspection, while they are both coming from similar directions, Facetasm has a direction all its own.
Probably key in defining the current direction of the brand is taking the starting point of Tokyo street fashion and giving it an almighty twist. In this way there is something nice and familiar about the warm organic textiles that look like well worn vintage, symbols taken from Americana and stadium jackets, all interspersed with the street fashion favorite - leopard print, but at the same time all those familiar items are blurred and distorted to the point where their proportions seem off and uncanny. Hats are too big, shoulders too large, there is always one layer too many and there are just a couple too many colours or textures. At one it is completely off and seemingly random, but somehow it works. The heavy layering and bulky fabrics deftly create a strong modern silhouette, the mix of colours are perfectly selected, and I would even go so far as to say there is something subtle about it. At its core, it is so familiar to what we are seeing on the streets of Tokyo, but it has been given that aforementioned twist that makes it seem as if Facetasm is creating shapes that the avant-garde are playing around with, but in totally relatable streetwear.
The key items for me from the collection are the bird detailed shoe and wrist cuffs that give Facetasm a strong symbol for people to recognise, not unlike Phenomenon’s crests and insignia, and the range of kilts, skirts and aprons for both men and women. To get this brand visible and on the street, you always need those easy purchases that you can work into your existing vintage and streetwear wardrobe, and those are a pretty accesible entry point. The showpiece of the collection, which comes in the form of a leather apron with biker inspired detailing, is an out and out winner for me and looks great worn layered over or under the over-sized sweaters. Elsewhere the pleating throughout and especially on the long tails of the shirts is fantastic and once again reminds me of the best pieces in Phenomenon’s back catalogue.
The hyper layered look is obviously really big in Tokyo right now, and the witty splicing of a stadium jacket and tailored cape on the right here is how you make it seem fresh.
The deconstructed biker details on both of these are fantastic – I love the collar on the left.
These I will admit are the two I found most challenging on the catwalk, but I could easily imagine these worn in Tokyo. As for internationally, I think they might need to be toned down.
The proportions on the right are absolutely perfect for next winter’s streetwear.
These two looks with their respective muted palettes could on the other hand be big hits abroad, and as ambassadors for Japanese fashion go, it doesn’t get more current than this.
There you have it, not necessarily easy to take it, but give it a moment and you might find it growing on you. As it happens a certain magazine critic friend of mine, might well have gone on to judge this the best collection of Tokyo Fashion Week – well, what do you think?