Every Fashion Week the exhibitions at Cannabis Harajuku’s Abydos gallery are invariably the most important of the season.  They consistently show underground brands that are quite simply too cool to openly publicize themselves: when DressedUndressed, who exhibited at Abydos last season, announced they would actually be putting their clothes on the catwalk it was a really big shock for me (and most of Tokyo).  That is not to say these aren’t brands built for mass-consumption, it is just half their cool is in their mystique and their nonchalant rejection of significant publicity.  This year’s crop of Abydos young designers very much continue this fine tradition of letting the work market itself in the certain knowledge that success is an inevitability.  Among them are this year’s hottest brand Dummyhead Depaysemen, as well as Gender, Melzlad Psyzye and Six Coup De Foudre, who are all united under the shared goal of creating timeless, genderless and aggressive work that is cool now, will be cool next season and almost certainly will be cool 100 years down the line (that is, unless Yuima Nakazato has his way).

Looking around the racks on entry to the exhibition reveals a dazzling array of blacks, rich textures and enough shearling and fur to keep any urban nomad warm.  Across all the brands the whole the trend of the moment seems to be to move away from flowing drapes, and into harder tailoring and broad planes of material in an echo of how the likes of Julius have evolved this particular dark look.  Notable among all else are the obviously organic leathers that beg to be touched with finishes to either exaggerate the natural imperfect texture or else processed with a textured finish.  Likewise the leather straps and harnesses that have started to crop up everywhere are next season turning up in thicker leathers, and overal strike me as an evolution of the clean, architectural lines that DressedUndressed and the like are using them for at the moment.  In short, it is all heavier, meatier and more obviously organic.

Having said that, it does not mean the mood of the clothes is overlay masculine compared to the androgyny of the moment.  Rather I would try to explain the clothes and vibe of the moment as being mostly genderless, but when worn by men look masculine, and by equal turns when worn in the women’s version of the lookbooks the clothes look aggressively feminine.  Apparently, from talking to the designers of DressedUndressed after their show, the technique often employed in these cases is that they create patterns that are as engendered as possible in the first place, and merely exaggerated the gender of the cut in the smaller and larger sizes respectively.  It is an interesting move and far from fool-proof (they are aware there are tall women!), but it is a sure fire way of creating truly gender free fashion in a truly subversive way as the viewer really can’t quite put their finger on just why the clothes look so different depending on how they are worn.

With that said, lets have a good look around, and given that we will probably feature each of these designers individually over the coming months, this time we thought we would concentrate on mood, colour and detail to give you an idea of the incoming trends.

We have said it before – bow-ties are going to be huge next season.

A Hokkaido bear claw.

Amazing leather work from Six whose work borders futurism in his abstract use of organics.  For example, the bag above looked almost like it was made of tar or melted plastic in the flesh.

Leather ring with carved inlay.

A wardrobe to dream of…  Saying that, given that these designers are relatively young, the price point (even on the shearling) is pretty damn good, and you definitely get your moneys worth over established brands.

Never change, Cannabis.  You will always be the coolest kid in town.

Stay tuned for the lookbooks from these respective designers and a glimpse of the future of genderless fashion.

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One Response to Subvert Gender – AW 2012-13 Collections at Cannabis Gallery Abydos

  1. Wim's says:

    Very cool pics.

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