Yoshio Kubo presented his collection as part of Tokyo Fashion Week as ever without a name and without explanation in the belief that his work does not require to be put into words to be understood. That puts me in a bit of predicament, but I have never been one to keep my mouth shut so I don’t see why I should start now! On the other hand feel free to do as Yoshio Kubo wishes and ignore my text and enjoy the images if you are so inclined.
The show, which followed last season’s tradition of being held in a sporty arena – this time on a running track of the Tokyo National Olympic Stadium, was at first glance solely a tribute to 90s New York gang culture courtesy of the soundtrack, steam-filled alley staging and clown face paint. Look a little closer however and there were 80s Brooklyn gang references, touches of the west coast, but also allusions to Japanese yakuza gangs which built to a vibrant mix that could only have come from a designer like Yoshio Kubo who has spent a significant time working in both countries (He worked for Robert Danes in New York for 4 years and previously had lived in Philadelphia).
However, where the collection came into its own was not in the aforementioned streetwear references, but in Yoshio Kubo’s brilliant textiles which are arguably the designer’s strongest suit. In this collection Yoshio Kubo introduced satins and even lace into the streetwear mix, finding a flamboyant and foppish feel to the gangstar roots, casting his menacing gang of models as fashionista peacocks but somehow keeping the whole on just the right side of credible in a manner very few can lay claim to.
80s/90s Kangol hats reared their head in various styles, but Yoshio Kubo’s stunning textiles stole the show.
Gang camo was rendered frivolous with unexpectedly feminine fabrics,
and the sheer on the arms of the above kept the ensemble forward-thinking over retro.
There was plenty to keep the collection wearable, as above (again with the great sheer arms), but even when he introduced the difficult lace hemmed shorts, Yoshio Kubo makes it all look so easy.
The waist bandanna here is actually a print on the trousers.
Long bombers have been everywhere lately, and even without the deconstructed biker jacket layer Kubo’s are looking pretty special.
Here the lace on the shorts works brilliantly – the pairs with neon yellow I don’t see leaving Tokyo anytime soon.
For more on Yoshio Kubo you can go here and definitely have a look through his archive if you haven’t already.