Mastermind Japan may have attracted a mix of critical appraisal in their (rapidly ending) time, but seeing them make their bombastic return to the catwalks of Tokyo this fashion week was a reminder of just how important a landmark they are on the fashion map. Ever known for their collaborations, this time they did not mess around but have gone to the only other brand on the planet to rival their street fashion clout – A Bathing Ape for a new line BAPE Mastermind. The result was a show packed with Tokyo fashion iconography, a show packed with reminders of the power of that little ape and that skull and crossbones. In terms of fashion, it did not surprise, nor did it aim to, indeed outside of the new BAPE items, I had seen most of the clothes from their exhibition in Paris which I wrote about here. But oddly enough, this was one of the few occasions when a show was not about the clothes, it was more about the symbolic return to Japan punctuated with messages of support for Japan and as a Mastermind designed Mercedes-Benz made its presence felt on the catwalk you could not help but think that the fashion cavalry had arrived to save the day.
It certainly was a responsible use of their significant power to revitalise a market – those BAPE Mastermind items are guaranteed to sell out – but hearing the designer talk through tears after the show about pulling together to get through in the same way as the collaborations have been the source of Mastermind’s success, you would struggle to not have respect for the spirit behind this move back to Tokyo. This was afterall a collection designed to showcase the best in Japanese textiles, made in Japan craftsmanship and the next wave of hi-tech Japanese developed fabrics. Perhaps the only area where the collection felt lacking in Jingoism was in the use of foreign models – but we have rather come to expect that.
First up we have the BAPE collaboration items:
I am sure you get the idea, you can see the full collection here along with surprisingly reasonable price listings.
On to Mastermind Japan proper:
Well there you go: a classic Mastermind Japan collection. It is just what they do and whether it is your taste or not, it is hard to deny that they do it well. In fact if you listen very carefully, I believe you can already hear the sound of tills ringing…