The second day of Tokyo Fashion Week was the stage for two debuts, first came Atsushi Nakashima’s geometric tailoring (more on that later), and second was the first menswear collection from Hideaki Sakaguchi, whose brand The Dress and Co has been the casual wardrobe of choice of a surprising portion of Tokyo’s fashion elite for some time now.  This first men’s collection continued the dialogue between Japanese and European fashion that has been previously established in his women’s work, but this time in making his muse the city of Florence, complete with the rich colours of the city and allusions to rank and status, the collection is infinitely bolder than his prior work that always seemed to be earthed in Tokyo sensibilities.  Despite consisting of mostly traditional classic menswear items, the work shone out in the unconventional accessories including Italian riding braces, ankle bands for holding the trouser leg tidy, arm bands and button toggles.  Their optional presence in the collection allowed for a significantly elevated level of styling considering the core collection and deftly demonstrated just how classy Japanese fashion ought to be without losing any of its expressive identity.

The show itself echoed the quiet nonchalance of the core items by allowing the audience to mill around the show area and find their own vantage point, before surprising them with shifts between blinding lights and darkness as the clothes made their appearance.  In this way the quintessentially Italian sharp pinks and greens shone, but by equal terms the darkness rewarded the noble greens and broad swathes of rich fabrics.

As the show went from ideolised masculine images of the gentry to outdoor pursuits, the one aspect that shone through to me as the aspect that tied the show together was the inherent femininity in the draping and avoidance of tailoring in some of the outers.  Granted, it never tipped the balance over into being an overt direction, but you could tell that the designer was trying to balance the current move towards outdoors fashion in menswear with a healthy amount of flamboyant dandyism – an approach that typifies the Tokyo fashion landscape.

You can get a feel for the presentation in the following video and images that hopefully capture the surprisingly strong presentation packed with shifts in light and reflections.

I am sure we will be seeing a larger collection form The Dress and Co men’s next fashion week, and I hope you will join me in looking forward to seeing more of his strong and dignified male ensembles then.

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