Those left cold by the derivative treatment of luxurious fabrics at Milan and Paris might do well to look to Tokyo and in particular Takashi Nishiyama’s luxurious fur packed, exotic leather tinged interpretation of the heroines of Japanese pop culture and giant robots. It is the high-end and avant-garde expression of the very same culture exemplified by Shibuya Girls Pop recently, and it follows an increasingly relevant narrative that you would be wise to keep your eye on. This is familiar territory for Takashi Nishiyama who has themed previous collections on Capcom’s Monster Hunter and thinks nothing of making giant robot-esque armor that cover a solid 10 metres squared when laid flat. Despite these experimental leanings it is possible to buy his work in Tokyo, not least at Dog Harajuku and Gokai in Akihabara – perhaps the only shop in Tokyo truly deserving of his vision.
To see his work in Gokai amidst the figures of Aphrodai A from Mazinger Z and the girls from Strike Witches place this collection in an immediate context that I hope is not lost too much as we work through his latest collection.
This time his references to the half girl, half robot construct from Japanese pop-culture come thick and fast, delivering school swimsuit inspired leotards next to boxy armor. It captures nicely the fetishistic mix of traditionally masculine strength in the body armor and knee-pads, but combines it with lacing and frilly hems uniting the inherent contradiction beloved of the past and present of otaku culture. As I said before, it also accomplishes it with a fantastically luxurious decadence that his contemporaries at Balmung and Runurunu are surely ready to explore, and it is nice to see Takashi Nishiyama move away from his raw leather hides that he has focused on in the past.
The shapes he is throwing out are a joy to behold and while certain elements such as the frilly maid cuffs are all in the styling there are some substantial pieces here.
These boots are just fantastic and a wonderfully timely mix of raw organic materials with the mecha structure of the leg armor from anime like Strike Witches.
The leg armor here reminds me more of the stilts Mikio Sakabe designed for Denpa Gumi.Inc, but created here in broadly wearable leather.
The shield is actually a bag, one that I would be more than happy to carry.
His interpretations of conventional clothing are potentially where his future lies – and might help him in reaching a wider audience.
But lets hope he never leaves the showmanship behind that has won him so many critical accolades in the past.
I hope that we see this brand on a catwalk here in Tokyo once again, he is clearly a man of such talent that with only a tweak to the formula could well seize control of Japanese fashion overnight.