Jun Takahashi’s brand Undercover has clearly been doing its best to surprise and subvert this past year.  The Uniqlo collaboration line, and his current super-layered collection – Openstrings all seemed to be a bit too tame for someone of his indubitable fashion pedigree, but having given them time to sink in, and after seeing more people wearing the collections it has all started to make a bit more sense.  I wonder if the same will happen with this latest men’s Undercover collection, themed “Psycho Color” and evidently taking a large portion of its inspirations from mental patients, with a big dose of the 80s thrown in.  Indeed, the proportions and cuts seem akin to pyjamas in places, the colours random and references to pop-culture introduced without warning.

On closer inspection it is clear that elements of his super-layering concept (creating the illusion of multiple layers) is still present, but largely his technical display this season is in colour blocking panels which he has used to break up sleeves and introduce different textures.  The collection also has a dizzying array of colours to choose from in socks, shoes and gloves which too is supposed to afford the wearer the opportunity to have fun introducing splashes of colour and express a bit of individuality.

The big question that hands over the collection for me – is does it actually look good?  Yes, it is a carefully curated discord, where all the proportions, colours and cuts are just a bit off, but is it a bit too subtle for its own good?  I suppose like the last collection I will need to give it a bit of time to sink in, and ultimately let the streets of Tokyo tell me if it works or not.  Don’t get me wrong, it is technically very good with witty details throughout, and I can see the quilt outers and studded leather jackets being worn out of context with ease.  I am just interested to see if the look as a whole will translate directly to the street level as it is, but knowing Undercover – it probably will.

The paneling of the jacket on the right is really quite something, but don’t miss out on the hint of blue in the collar and if you cast your eyes down to the feet you will find a duel layer of socks.

For every item that crams colour and cut into a single garment, there are also a couple of moments of outright simplicity like the jacket on the right.

As the colors get more and more vivid, there is something of the clown in the collection that reminds me of Phenomenon’s A/W 2011-12.

And some actual pyjamas to end on:

Fashion definitely wouldn’t be half as fun if it didn’t challenge you once in a while and this collection does for me at least, fall into that category.  I can see how some fans of the brand from its days as synonym for cool, credible street fashion might feel a bit left out of this collection, but rest assured that whenever I have been into the Omotesando store, regardless of the season, the same classic items we know and love are still produced for the fans.

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4 Responses to Undercoverism A/W 2012-13 Collection – Psycho Color

  1. brad-t says:

    “The big question that hands over the collection for me – is does it actually look good?”

    Sadly, no. The Japanese domestic fashion industry is way too competitive and way too full of good ideas at solid prices to recommend a collection like this, IMO.

  2. Samuel says:

    @ brad-t

    Well you know that I always try and find the positive to draw out of every collection, but I do agree that this is likely to be a bit of a hard sell outside hardcore fans. Never underestimate just how popular Jun Takahashi is though. We will see…

  3. ピロ says:

    There a couple of standouts for me (yellow quilted jacket in third last photo) but I really can’t stand who plaster their name over garments. All in all a solid collection but nothing too exceptional.

  4. Samuel says:

    @ Piro

    I know! Even in this case when it is a deliberately dated reference. An obvious brand name on anything just jars with me.

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