Continuing our Japan Fashion Week coverage here at Tokyo Telephone we continue in the oft taken far too lightly vein of Shibuya street fashion with Vanquish.  Held the day after Liz Lisa and in the same venue, but this was a polar opposite of the former – as it rightly should have been given the paired back rock-star cool the latter is famous for.  However in an echo of the spirit of Liz Lisa, the theme of the show was presenting the designs in a different high-fashion context – as the designer himself ended the show by saying – This is how Shibuya Gyaru-O style would evolve to Mode if its market were to widen.  A realization perhaps that over-specialisation of your market can be an all or nothing strategy inappropriate for the world in recession or perhaps this was just a chance for a skilled designer to flex his muscles – you may read into it whatever you will.

The lighting was dark and the only detail layered onto the venue was the sustained theme of the blue feathers which would go on to punctuate the spring/summer collection as a whole.  The other element you could not help but notice was the number of collaborations in the collection, from their continued work with Adidas Originals to Sony Ericsson’s Xperia phone, a quarter of the items on display had a collaborative element.  While the phone tie-in is nothing remarkable, the fact that Adidas Originals effectively now has a shop in every 109-2 in Japan is very interesting given that they would be the first foreign brand to ever do so.  The models again were for the most part foreign but for the presence of Daigo and his gang who graced us with their trademark poses to much appreciation from the packed audience.

Continue on for an avalanche of the looks from the show and some thoughts and conclusions.

A “New World” apparently from Vanquish – one where dark blue is a universal accent, which I for one happen to love on black.  A disappointing showing on the other hand for leather for the summer that everyone else seemed to be enjoying for next season at Fashion Week, but I can forgive them that as I think they have played a blinder with their unifying blue bird pattern.  To me it is a hark right back to the early days of Shibuya Gyaru-O native styling, but with a modern flair.

The Sony Ericsson designs are purely conceptual and not for sale, but the sunglasses that accompany will be apparently as a collaborative venture with Dita and the denim with lighting bolts is produced with Fragment designs.  Phew!  Along with the Vanquish x Sega collaboration it seems that this is a business model that really works for Vanquish.  While these are not rare in Japanese fashion, the brands that Vanquish is working with all seem to be means to widen their scope to more mainstream and mature audiences and looking at their collection you can see a brand doing exactly that.

As I have said previously on the subject of Buffalo Bobs this seems to be symptomatic of the world of 109-2 at the moment – and no bad thing if you ask me  While some may be quick to say that this is an end to Gyaru-O or even 109-2, to me this strikes me simply as a changing market with changing aesthetics.  This in turn leads to a different variety of customers with different shopping habits – which the market has to respond to.  I may personally miss meeting my friends on the derelict top floor of 109-2 when you could hang out up there and not be bothered by shop staff, but it has now become more like a traditional Japanese department store like OIOI – which I would regard as a mark of success.  After all sales are proportionally up across the key brands of 109-2, the price of the average item has gone up, as has the age of the average customer (but I think that is a topic for a dedicated post).  In short with shows like this behind us I can see a shift in the classic Gyaru-O / Shibuya styling towards Mode.  We have seen it happen in women’s fashion already this year and it seems on this occasion that mens is just a couple of steps behind.

Back on the collection at hand, I think it is interesting to see the lack of half-sleeves on suit jackets that permeated the entirety of 2010 S/S, a flash in the pan if ever there was one!  But elsewhere there is not a huge amount to strike me, apart from perhaps to draw a line between this and Gyaru favorite MARS’ ability to establish a brand around a colour palate.  It will be very interesting to see whether Vanquish persists with this blue that permeated even the snake skin on their studded belts as a brand identity from here onwards, or whether this will be only for one collection.

Of equal interest is to see how many Shibuya brands take the plunge as Vanquish and Liz Lisa have done for next year’s Japan Fashion Week in March.  I for one applaud those brands that do, because they are entering a world that has always been fairly ambivalent to their presence.  One thing is clear, that those that enter into a high-fashion context need to find a different way to present themselves to the fashion world beyond their established fan-base.


Thanks go to our hosts at Vanquish and JFW for their runway shots.

PS. Do check out Fashionsnap’s back stage coverage – here

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9 Responses to Tokyo Telephone @ Japan Fashion Week – Vanquish

  1. brad-t says:

    Great write-up, thanks. Unfortunately I’ve never found Vanquish to be an interesting brand and this collection doesn’t change that for me. I found myself pretty bored watching this.

    Plus, did you see the goddamn insane price of this leather?:
    I just cannot see this fitting into Vanquish’s demographic; hell, at that price it’s pricing itself into the territory of 5351 and Shellac, and that’s a battle I cannot see Vanquish doing too well in.

    Would love to see Tornado Mart or 5351 present at Japan Fashion Week, though; those brands seem like they would fit in better, as well.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by R & S, R & S. R & S said: Tokyo Telephone @ Japan Fashion Week – Vanquish […]

  3. tokyotelephone says:

    Thanks, I think the most interesting thing about the show was the business direction rather than the clothes. I guess they can fire out a clothes spread in every issue of Men’s Knuckle, but they only get a couple of chances to impress the shareholders in this kind of context. Looking round at the crowd the business crowd definitely outnumbered the press/stylists/hangers-on.

    Tornado Mart would be immense! They do a couple of industry shows a year and I would love to get myself on the invitation list for that. We will have to see. I reckon if they did it would probably feel a bit like Gut’s Dynamite Cabarets show (report coming soon) and I would like them to see them promote the women’s side of things a bit more.

    As for the jacket… Half the price and we can talk. When I saw it I just grabbed a pot of leather oil and polished up my favorite jacket to that kind of finish – can’t beat a freshly polished leather anything! As for the studs, I mean I love a studded arm and square studs. Problem is that those are single point square studs not 2 prong, so they will spin round and kinda ruin that sense of order. Plus that is one of those things that I would rather do myself. The spirit of studding something and the time and pain involved is priceless.

  4. brad-t says:

    I cannot find anything about Tornado Mart Femme on the internet, which is disappointing; seems to have a very hippie/boho vibe and I think my girl would love it.

    Jealous you got to go man, planning a trip to Japan in hopefully January 2011 to hit up New Years sales LOL

  5. tokyotelephone says:

    Ah well next time for me will be March for Fashion Week. New Year sales are wonderful, because it is one of the few times of the year that sales staff don’t bother you to buy the new season stuff and let you get stuck right into the sales!

    Tornado Mart Femme is nice, only thing I would say is that there are an awful lot of Japanese brands that do very similar things for much less. It is not like the male line that has a look that can’t really be replicated (apart from maybe Growth = TM on a budget).

  6. brad-t says:

    Info on Growth? Such an ambiguous word so I can’t find it myself haha

  7. tokyotelephone says:

    Nowhere online I am afraid for the interesting stuff. They release some pretty standard Onii-kei level gear which you can get online, but they also do some crazy bell-bottoms and patterned shirts that really do on occasion cross into the realm of bad taste that TM mostly avoids. As for stockists, there is one in Shinjuku 2 Chome in a club wear shop, another in Koenji and Magic Cinq in Shinjuku also stocks the fun stuff sometimes. Expect shirts for 3000-4000 yen and Jeans for under 10000 – so there are bargains to be had if you manage to find something that works for you.

  8. brad-t says:

    Eh, the description doesn’t sound too promising, at those prices I’d rather just buy used/sale TM. Thanks though.

    PS: Saw you joined Harajuju, post already man

  9. […] definitely want to be more fashion forward as their S/S 2011 collection proved and I can see them succeeding […]

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