For us here at Tokyo Telephone, Tokyo Fashion Week began in earnest last night with Ne-Net’s wonderful show yesterday, but the official week starts on Sunday with the guest appearance of Conny Groenewegen and ARIUNAA SURI as the opening acts to the week.  For the pair of them it will be their first appearance in Tokyo and no doubt the first question they are likely to be asked in interviews is likely to be – “Why Tokyo?”, a question probably better answered by the organizers of the week who seem to be pushing the week as a platform for international talent as well as domestic.

That is a topic for another time, and as I have wrote about previously there are plenty of events that promote home-grown talent in a more cultural context, so there is, and hopefully will always be, room for both.

Unexpected success stories of brands who would not think would necessarily function in a catwalk setting are plentiful enough at Tokyo Fashion Week.  Alice Auaa for one turned their theatricality to the runway with ease, even if they did break from the formula a couple of times to put on the kind of show they are renowned for.  Even so I don’t think we should ever forget to question whether this is the best stage for the various kinds of Tokyo fashion, I am sure that the traditional setting and line-up of foreign models does add accessibility for some, but does it tell an honest story?

With that said, the likes of Atsushi Nakashima do definitely play to the strengths of this traditional setting, so there is no easy answer to be found.

Yasutoshi Ezumi is one designer whose appearance on the runway I personally look forward to, his stark settings set the scene for a stark elegance that exists out of time and place.

In-Process by Hall Ohara are one of the few who embrace the catwalk as a means of telling a story, their last collection building from strait-jackets that gradually transformed into parachute harnesses – a narrative ability that is still rare and very welcome in Tokyo.

Jun Okamoto remains high on my “ones to watch list”, and I am glad to see that the buyers have responded well to his poetic tales that were told in ballet last season:

Matohu is always a highlight of fashion week, even though their last season was a massive showa-era nostalgic departure that surprised many, it reminded Tokyo that this is a brand that can and will surprise.

With the departure of Phenomenon from the week everyone has been asking who will take their place (for the record I have heard that Phenomenon is set to continue next season – but that is yet to be confirmed), Whiz Limited are a strong bet for my yen, but only time will tell.

I could go on to mention Christian Dada’s long awaited return to the catwalk, furfur, Yohio Kubo, etc, the list really does go on and on.  There is so much out there to get excited about and hopefully between the scattering of Japanese fashion focused websites we will keep you up to date and informed!

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