Of all the designers who exhibit at Tokyo Fashion Week, few understand the importance of having a sense of drama or performance quite as well as Johan Ku. His runway collections are primarily planned to be a show for his audience, and I can testify that there are literally no images or film currently in existence that actually captures what his shows are like. So far his two presentations in Tokyo have both made heavy use his unique light reactive fabrics (technically termed phosphorescence fabrics) that to all intents and purposes glow in the dark, but crucially are still faintly luminous at average room level lighting, and which when integration into his beautifully textured knitwear manage to avoid being a gimmick, but rather, a part of the magic of wearing a garment that cannot be reduced to the sum of its parts. However, that creativity comes with the compromise that they are very difficult to communicate online, or in any medium for that matter.
That is why it is why I am so glad that he decided to hold an exhibition in Dog Harajuku to coincide with his S/S 2012 going on sale. I have already written about Johan Ku’s S/S 2012 here, but like I have said, people need to actually see his work up close for the true beauty of his work to sink in. Add to that that his work walks between being palatable for the high fashion crowd of fashion week, but also having so much in it that can just slot into a streetwear wardrobe.
These pictures from the exhibition come completely unedited, and hopefully capture a bit of the magic of the current collection. As they are under black-light the glowing effect is enhanced, but I can assure you that when it was turned off the effect was not diminished all that much.
Aside from those key items, the scarves as part of his “purple line” are equally stunning in their grandiose gradations:
I love how the soft skull looms out of the gentle colours – wonderful.
To get a more practical look at the collection you really must check out this online stockist at Maison here where you can see lookbooks, and pictures of the collection in both light and dark. They also ship internationally, so they should be your first port of call for Johan Ku.
I also thought this would be a good opportunity to look at his A/W 2012-13 collection – The Vision Blue – in video form (seeing as we struggled to get pictures that did the collection justice on the day…):
It is a continuation of many ideas established in his S/S 2012, but takes some steps towards wearability in incorporating more fabric items to balance out the knitwear. In particular the cage like structures combined with the luminescent textiles are nothing short of genius and the fact that the collection as a whole is so literally themed on Tricolor/Bleu is just the icing on the cake. Sit back and let it wash over you, but bear in mind that it looks infinitely better in person.