Liberum Arbitrium by Shinsuke Mitsuoka is one Japanese menswear designer who has really come into his own the last two Tokyo Fashion Weeks, distancing himself from the Gareth Pugh theatrics of his graduate and early work when he was based in London and represented by Blow, and focusing instead on sharp technical and sports wear ensembles with a touch of the austere. The result is clean and under-stated but with enough aggression to keep it on my radar, and executed in a sombre palette punctuated with mustards, navy and a shade of dark turquoise that I hope will be a key colour this winter.
For the presentation we were treated to a Ryoji Ikeda inspired light show that resonated with his horizontal cut up layers perfectly, throwing the face and the lower body into darkness. In terms of silhouette, most looks relied heavily on boxy slacks and even in the slimmer and ruched options the legs were as weighty as the uppers, giving Tokyo a rare unfitted shape to work with that chimed in with the practical tone of the whole. This was no-nonsense fashion, a strategy guide for the urban gent.
The Ryoji Ikeda derived patterns punctuated most looks in the collection, captured at their most striking above and as a restrained breaking layer below:
The horizontal broken layers high on the body were beautifully technically implemented across the chest, lapels and arms.
Sportswear inspired shapes were well abstracted to architectural lines and the choice of colors just softened the look away from neo gothic territory.
Midway the horizontal lines were broken with a handful of unexpected snoods but with a hard leather trim,
Before returning to more blocky territory for some of the best looks of the collection.
Liberum Arbitrium did treat us to one of his more sinister looks that fans of the brand will fondly remember from his first collection since returning to Japan – Ghost.
It is clear that Shinsuke Mitsuoka is settling in on this more technical style, but I for one think it would be nice to temper that by revisiting some of the Japanese textile and dramatic shapes of his past work once again. Time will tell where he goes from here, so keep your eye on him and enjoy the ride.