I dare you not to fall in love with Jenny Fax’s lastest collection. I dare you! (I think it’s impossible not to, by the way.) One of the many highlights of the amazing Shibuya Fashion Festival in Miyashita park was Shueh Jen-Fang’s impeccable dreamy show that brought a sense of teenage wonder to a breezy skate park next to a highway. Quite an achievement, but after only five seasons Jenny Fax has become known for such transformations.
For this spring summer collection we were taken back to the early nineties, thanks to the 1991 drama series based on the manga of the same name, Tokyo Love Story. A tale of love (of course!), the city and young people trying to find their own way in the world. This was also a pivotal time for Japan as a whole – the end of the ‘bubble era’ signified the loss of optimism of the 1980s, and a whole generation of young people had to drastically rethink their futures. Around Tokyo today, many offices in particular seem to have stalled in time: grey filing cabinets; grey carpet; dusty venetian blinds; sello-taped notices with fading hand-written kanji; women still wearing the standard pencil skirt and waistcoat uniform of their predecessors. It’s very strange to feel something almost like nostalgia for something you’ve seen only a million times before.
Returning to Jenny Fax: we hustled our way through the crowd to a large platform covered in old TVs showing selected scenes from Tokyo Love Story. One by one, the models walked around this shrine to the 90s, flickering screens and video emotions. As well as the much-favoured pencil skirt and waistcoat combination and Jen-Fang’s signature shoujo designs, we also saw flashes of child-like humour in Cabbage Patch doll embroidery (the sheer trousers are just as fantastic in real life, I can assure you!), and several lingerie-inspired looks too.
The 90s aesthetic here is definitely less ‘grunge’, and more hyper-saturated VHS drama re-runs – literally. Colours blur and merge, and you’re taken back to a time of crushes, Clueless and heart-throbs. I was still in my childhood in 1991, but I can still remember something of that time: while the news incessantly talks problems, your head and heart are somewhere different. When you’re a teenager everything seems for immediate, more vivid and intense, and this collection really taps into the precipice of teenageness – tipping from childhood on one side, to the inevitable adult on the other. It’s a fine line, and one that Jenny Fax does well to explore.
The flesh-tone tights and white shoes combination is achingly 90s.
For the finale of the show, we were treated to quite a sight: girls arranged themselves around platform dressed in a variety of costumes based on themes of love: the crepe, barred window and hatchet headdress were particular favourites. Even more young girls came out in foamy satin bridal dresses, and then the real highlight: a fake snowstorm!
Could there be a more perfect way to end a teenage romance? I think not.