Runurunu has taken his work back to basics for his AW 2013-14 collection, gone are the vivid reds and acidic greens he made his name with on the Tokyo street fashion circuit, instead he has returned to the black and white world of his original Tetsuo-inspired man meets machine dystopian inspiration and come up with something that marks an exciting new chapter in the work of this fashion prospector. His work has always taken its cues from man morphing into anime inspired semi-organic forms, whether that is the Evangelion-esque robots of his last collection or the murky mutations of his very first collection. In that respect at least this collection is no different as he is continuing that narrative with a collection that resembles bodies sprouting with pulsing tubes and cables straight out of The Iron Man. Indeed, this is one of my own personal fashion inspirations (I wrote about it some years ago) and while many have picked up ideas from that iconic work, not least Julius and Yasuyuki Ishii, no-one has rendered those visuals quite so literally until now.
For his installation Runurunu has enlisted the talents of Orchestra Liven to create a mass of wood and metal to display his work, the clothes looking like logical extensions of the aggregation.
To see the work you had to step inside the claustrophobic structure:
This is also Runurunu’s most wearable collection yet, not least because of the monotone and metallic palette, but also because the details are concise compared to the sheer bulk of previous outers. However, I would not like to lead you into thinking of this work from a commercial perspective, to do so is to miss the point of deliberately creating such challenging clothes, limiting production and trying to establish the different set of values in fashion that Runurunu and his contemporaries are striving for. Fundamentally wearing a brand as visible as Runurunu changes your relationship with the streets of Tokyo, making you a walking work of art and declaring you an outsider, just like the protagonist and antagonist in Tetsuo.
As ever the key aesthetic hinges on the contrast in textures and colours painstakingly pieced together to enclose the body.
Many of the fabrics have a slight metallic silver of gold thread running through them to further highlight the man meets machine theme,
but I personally enjoyed the vascular effect of the tubing the most.
The mix of structures is really strong this time and the extent of the asymmetry is beautiful – in this case both arms are completely different right to the shoulder, the left packed with tubing on the underside, the right with cut-outs and contrasting details.
Up close the quality definitely holds firm and you can see why people are so keen to collect these works of fashion art.
Runurunu is finally using leather next to his artificial fabrics – a step up in quality and a beautiful contrast.
The organic vs mechanical theme was concentrated on this piece right in the centre of the structure.
Next we will have the other half of the exhibition for you – Balmung.