Having established a bit of background for WrittenAfterwards’ S/S 2013 collection “Bye Buy” in the installation (here) today we move on to the show itself “The Seven Gods – Clothes from Chaos”. It is the conclusion of a story arch concerning a character – Adam – that designer Yoshikazu Yamagata has been pursuing for a while now, and I advise you to have a read into that if want to understand the story behind the show, although I warn you it is rather extensive. The show itself took place on the very last official day of Tokyo Fashion Week as part of the Shibuya Fashion Festival at Miyashita park, an area located exactly halfway between Harajuku and Shibuya, and a hub of street and skater culture. Apart from Cat Street (which does lead you to the park) it is hard to think of a location more intrinsically linked to Tokyo street fashion culture – it is in effect the geographical centre point of youth fashion and one I always walk through at least once a week when moving between the two areas. Further emphasizing the egalitarian street level credentials of the show was the fact that like all the shows at Shibuya Fashion Festival, the general public could get in if they didn’t mind standing.
And what a show it was! Coming in at over 30 minutes from beginning to end with 3 distinct sub shows, it was a fitting climax to a Fashion Week that was starting to feel a bit too safe and a reminder that Tokyo is not just capable of offering an alternative to the Fashion Weeks of London, Paris and Milan, but is capable of shows that literally could not be held anywhere else on this planet of ours.
The first part of the show was dedicated to his character Adam being down on his luck and unable to sell any clothes – hence why you have a dress set up like a Japanese flea market as above with the clothes laid out on blue matting.
An appropriate state of affairs perhaps as there are precious few items in each outfit that will actually make it to retail, but this was a show for the sake of it. A display of excess and of saturation that completely encapsulates what Japanese fashion actually is – for better or for worse.
Each outfit was a reference to one of Tokyo’s vices, whether it be a Dior themed outfit, fast food or even fast fashion. The point was made literally and with its tongue firmly in its cheek.
An outfit that alluded to what was to come…
For the second part of the show, a cultish ceremony began and a series of models in swans made from tatami mats walked the runway before a gang of children dressed as cherubs escorted the mannequin representing Adam on the catwalk – you couldn’t make it up!
The ritual begins.
The clothes made from tatami that too had clothes on their surface – a true saturation of the senses.
Finally as the swans left the catwalk, traditional Japanese Shinto music began and the show reached its climax:
The models almost didn’t fit down the catwalk and there were a couple of moments where it looked like they might go over – the audience was right with them and with every step you could hear audile gasps as these fantastic outfits came into view.
As the designer himself – Adam – was propped up to take a bow at the end of the show the music from The End of Evangelion “Komm Susser Tod” began to play, adding a sense of explantation to an otherwise difficult show, although a reference potentially lost on anyone who has not seen the film.
So was it a good show? Was there anything you might wear? Does any of that really matter? If you are anything like me you have wardrobes bursting with clothes and wish lists that will never be fulfilled – can’t we just have a show for the sake of it every now and again?