Following on from Facetasm’s presentation, which we looked at yesterday, was Phenomenon’s A/W 2012-13 which managed to surprise an audience who might have been expecting to be challenged by experimental fashion such as the wicker waist bags and armored puffer jackets that have been the talking points of Tokyo Fashion Week in the past.  Instead what we got was a return to the colour blocking of their rather preppy S/S 2012, but this time with a smattering of nostalgia from the 60s and 70s in the colour palette and tailoring, mixed with current streetwear such as technical wear, quilting and over-sized shoulders.  After the brand’s success at Tokyo Fashion Week in Italy and increased awareness internationally, it was no surprise to see designer Big-O putting out a show that could have squeezed in on the schedule at Paris and is a remarkable rise for a brand that used to be the toast of the Tokyo underground.  Indeed, it stikes me that from drawing in all the coverage I have seen of TFW, that it is Phenomenon and Christian Dada who have come out as the “face” of the week as a whole.  A contrasting vision for the future of Japanese fashion, but one united by their street fashion origins, the role Candy of Fake Tokyo has played in their dissemination, and a desire to see Japanese fashion given the credit it deserves.

Join me for a look at the highlights of the collection below and feel free to let me know what you think:

This is the key look of the collection for me – heavy layering and deliberate contrast of tailoring and streetwear, combined with the bulky outer and blocks of colour.

The pleating that Phenomenon has used so often in the past was largely absent and replaced instead with soft curves to the tailoring as the construction theme that united the work.

This jacket has been a big hit amongst Japanese fans of the brand online and it is easy to see why.  Like Facetasm the shapes are bold and progressive, but the delivery is street level.

The above is a perfect example of a classic Phenomenon outfit but toned down to the point where you could imagine this in any city worldwide.  It keeps the skirted silhouette, but creates it through layering which is hopefully less likely to put people off.

The other key silhouette of the collection is the above, which is a great take on heavy layering in a fairly tight silhouette.  Throw in the colour blocking and you have something really exciting that is going to bring something fresh to the streets of Tokyo later this year.

More fantastic quilting.

Last collection I said that Phenomenon had departed from its usual direction, but now I can see that this is actually a new direction for the brand as a whole.  I might miss some avant garde flourishes, but as a whole given that an awful lot more people are actually going to be wearing this, possibly all over the world, it is a price I would happily pay to see this vision on the street.

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