There is a dark cloud literally and figuratively hanging over Tokyo as I type this, even in the midst of the anticipation and expectation that surronds Fashion Week you cannot ignore that there seems to be an air of caution around fashion at the moment. As the lovely Misha Janette alluded to in her article in the The Japan Times yesterday consumers and manufacturers are after stability in these stormy economic waters and where it would seem somewhat gauche to be decked out like a rhinestone Christmas tree when we are still conserving electricity. The knock-on effect of all of this is that fashion itself has become more conservative, afraid to take risks and where even a trip to 109 will shove a relentless mix of beige into your smoky eyed face. In doing so a huge amount of brands have lost all identity and dynamism that used to separate them from the crowd, instead sticking to sure-fire hits that are guaranteed to sell but will do little to spread your brand identity.
Surely the time has come to be brave, especially for the designers who have missed a chance to present their work in the manner of their own choosing last fashion week, they must be desperate to return to form with guns blazing and shake of this austerity once and for all. After all the Japanese Fashion industry is hardly in bad shape, yes there is the looming spectre of fast-fashion threatening everyone with its ubiquitous presence, but the tills are still ringing and the schedule for this seasons Tokyo Fashion Week looks stronger than ever. I just hope that these designers are not going to play it quite as safe as those who play to the mainstream. So with that said, who is guaranteed to pull no punches this season?
First up has to be Tokyo Telephone favorite and young upstart Zoo Morikawa’s Christian Dada show. The collection called Signal / Noize and the invitation is a black skeleton – enough said. I am looking forward to a bold presentation like his last A/W 2011-12, hopefully with a heavy does of the structuralism that he has proved he does so well.
Obviously another personal favorite is Olga’s ETW. Vonneguet who teased me with an empty DVD case sized invitation for her show – Proof of Existence – on the 23rd. Her last show quickly became more about the situation (in the aftermath of the earthquake) than the fashion last time round, so I am hoping that this time the focus can be brought right round to her indubitable talent this season. Expect more silk printing, unexpected shoulder structuring and another appearance from the hair-stylists over at BOY.
The weight of expectation this Fashion Week must surely fall on Anrealage who have gone from strength to strength after their last collection proved such a big hit with critics and fans alike. Will Anrealage be able to come up a theme to equal the pixelated genius of Low? Obviously the answer to that is sure to the be yes – what can I say, they haven’t failed yet.
There is going to be a rather unexpected show from h.Naoto this year on the 29th who has promised us an anthology of his work over 2008-2011 as well as his latest collection in his fashion show. It is sure to be a spellbinding show and this time we are going to do our best to capture it on camera – too often h.Naoto puts on the most amazing private shows but from which good quality pictures never emerge. We will be trying our best because people really need to see just what h.Naoto Haute Couture looks like.
Now I could go on and on through the pile of collections, but rest assured I will get round to them in time, consider this an aperitif of what is to come and hopefully I have convinced you that now is the time to be excited about the future of Japanese fashion. Keep an eye on the official website for the schedule and where the shows might be being streamed live online. Excited?