The face that Japanese fashion presents to the world may have long slipped from the vision of CDG and Yohji and into the realms of bright pop-culture infused saturation, but the substance beyond the surface has always been pleasantly steady.  Just behind the fashion that asks for your attention and begs to be street snapped, Japanese fashion at its purest is actually very refined, understated and a celebration of design over shock value.  It must be disappointing for those expecting the streets of Tokyo to be non-stop Dog, teaming with Sweet Lolitas or else an artists impression of the inside of Lady Gaga’s mind, but as I have long championed – the best thing about Japanese fashion is not the peaks, but the strength of the average.

I know that this is not a very promising introduction to a collection, but when placed in the context of this site output like the following could get lost next to the latest from Balmung, runurunu or Bodysong (as exemplified here), but give it your time and you will find something acutely representative of the core of Japanese fashion.

Public Image is the brainchild of Ryujiro Tamaki, who some of you might know from his previous brand – Motive.  It can be found in GR8 in LaForet Harajuku and Cannabis amongst others, and is a bastion of 90s counter culture which as you might expect, means that the designer lends his hand to alternative mediums to compliment the clothes.  In this case the designer is keen on mixed media, illustration, techno and can regularly be found at the kind of underground nights that seem to bring out all the design fanatics from their minimalist apartments.

The lookbook this year is taken from a candid series of Polaroids that aim to capture the positivity of the city.  As the designer himself has gone on record saying – that this is a departure from his previous darker collections to represent the need for optimism after the events of March 2011.

With the atmosphere established, here are the clothes in an altogether more clinical environment:

As a compliment to the loose silhouette I think the real winner of the collection has to be the very plain tailored skirt, as well as broader touches such as the slightly off-centre zips on some of the jackets and subtle tie-dye.

If you are taken by this minimalist vision that is hopefully a little more accesible that a lot of the work I have been writing about recently, then head on over to their homepage to read up on past collections and get lost in links.

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5 Responses to Public Image – S/S 2012 Collection

  1. brad-t says:

    I hate those parachute sandals, but they will sell out for sure. Japanese sure seem to love crazy ass sandals.

  2. Kate B says:

    Great article! Thanks xkx

  3. Samuel says:

    @ brad-t

    I don’t want to be lame with this cop-out hypothesis, but I think sandals have a different cultural place in Japan. For example, in the office where I used to work impeccably besuited men would often take off their shoes and put on sandals when they were in the office. All because of this whole idea that you are only relaxed if you aren’t wearing shoes – which oddly enough sandals don’t fall into and I think that is core to why Japanese men go crazy for them.

    On top of that you have this notion of “dressing seasonally”, i.e. that one must be acknowledge the change of season in every aspect of your dress, and the obvious necessity in the Japanese summer and there you have it. A need to wear the idea of sandals, which when combined with city life often manifests itself in sandals that look like they really wish they were shoes.

    On a personal note I have some awesome Yasuyuki Ishii ones lined up for this summer already…

  4. I love the article, my favorite point is what you said about “the average.” It is consistently higher than a lot of cities I’ve seen..The extremes will always come and go in different waves in Tokyo I think, which is also exciting.

  5. Samuel says:

    @ Lactose Intoler-Art

    Much appreciated. As we talked about in Koenji, it is the high level of the norm that allows for the eccentrics to excel.

    And yes, the out of control extremes always surprise. Just when you think you know which way the tide is going a trend will kick-off that totally catches you off guard!


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