Mikio Sakabe has never shied away from tackling Japanese pop-culture in his collections, nor from putting on a memorable show. This year was no different and saw him pair a gritty form of urban occultism with some startling magical girl archetypes beloved by anime and manga. Mikio Sakabe teamed up with Akihabara lovelies Denpagumi.inc as part of the Saizen00 project for a guerilla show outside Tsutaya in Roppongi for a presentation that would not be easily forgotten. It was a heady mix of Akihabara culture, fashion, live performance and the European Occult – it was also a whole lot of fun.
On top of all that Mikio Sakabe chose this as the opportunity to showcase his new collaborative brand Jenny Fax (more on that soon). For now continue reading for the show, lookbook and more of those surreal Akihabara idols.
This move to integrate cosplay and fashion is nothing all that new and you can read more about it through the work of Junya Suzuki and it might be worth reminding yourself of Shinji Konishi’s hair styling at this juncture as well. In this case it was great decision to combine the idea of Japanese pop-cultural magical girls (the anime girls) next to gritty urban witches in the collection, as well as making it entertaining to say the least.
Selections from the show:
Obviously of the anime-fied girls only the knitwear is part of the collection (maybe those boots?). For the record some of the models did manage to walk in those boots un-aided, and to see them totter for yourself you can see them here.
The actual lookbook:
The collection was clearly a continuation of the themes well established in last year’s A/W, although it has developed on the urban gothic ideas without becoming too serious. Incongruous imagery is after all what Mikio Sakabe does very well – which I suppose was additional justification for the idols in his presentation.
Talking of which:
I think key to bringing in these anime/mange/pop-culture references into fashion is to keep them as surreal and uncomfortable as possible without resorting to either overt sexualization or shock value. If you are careful, as Mikio Sakabe has been, it can be an opportunity to let pop-culture tell us something about the way the human body can be depicted, which is obviously a key role that fashion has to play in society. I suppose you could quite easily dismiss it as cosplay, but there is a point to be made here and the current wave of young Japanese designers seem to be very focused on making it.
On more practical matters there are an impressive number of stockists out there for past and future collections and Fake Tokyo ship internationally if you are after the current collection themed on the iconography of fast food. Regardless of your personal fashion persuasion Mikio Sakabe has to be worth your time, even if only for the showmanship of it all.