For a designer keen to actually create clothes, it was something of a shock to hear that Yuima Nakazato’s image of utopia was actually inspired by a nudest colony, doubly so when you consider that the purpose of his work has long been to explore the concept of genderless fashion, or more accurately, going beyond the idea of gender, a feat that is quite hard to capture in the nude. To that end he enlisted flesh toned beiges and very soft pinks to mimic the nude bodies of his chosen models, but did not forget his trademark holographic plastic fabrics which he used as ever to redefine the body. It is a progressive vision that you would want to associate with a city like Tokyo, and that is why it was no surprise that Yuima Nakazato was named the Mercedes-Benz Presents designer, an accolade that meant that he was the one entrusted with officially opening the week, and got to design a dress based on a Mercedes-Benz as well (which you can see here). You can definitely follow their rationale, and they must be applauded for giving a young designer for whom success is inevitable like Yuima Nakazato the incentive to present in Tokyo and also the support to put on a full show.
The presentation style was perfect with thick layers of smoke obscuring the models, a dramatic soundtrack and even the controversial decision to limit photographers to an absolute minimum to cut down on flashes. On the subject of styling, the cast were lacking the genderless high-heels and boots that Yuima Nakazato is perhaps best known for, opting instead to go barefoot to echo the theme of nature and nudism or else in modestly simple shoes that couldn’t be seen in the smoke. The props that adorned the models were mostly made from wood, with a little bit of antler as well, but held together with black plastic tubing and man-made fibres that glinted like fibre-optics in motion. It may have been something of a distraction from the precision of the clothes, but it hammered home the theme of contrasting the organic with the man-made and amplified the idea that the clothes were in a sense distanced from the body.
Personally I think that is what Yuima Nakazato was getting at with this collection, the idea that the clothes were like supporting structures, distanced from the body and not a cohesive part of it as he has done with his draped cloaks in the past that followed the body. In practical terms what this meant is that you had a lot of armor-like panels and structures with both a futurism and an understanding of natural forms that Gareth Pugh might well approve of. The nude elements of the ensemble largely were secondary to the plastics, but shone out in a couple of looks where they took on the form of exaggerated muscular silhouettes on the upper body or wide-legged flared trousers whose movement recalled a floor-length dress.
It was a great way to start Fashion Week at any rate, and reminded us of the promise that we all saw in Yuima Nakazato after his first presentation in Tokyo when it seemed like he had the fashion world at his feet, and I reckon if you give him a couple of seasons to consolidate these ideas, he might just live up to that promise.
Keep an eye on Fake Tokyo for his S/S 2012 collection, and be thankful that they were the ones who took a gamble on this guy all those years ago.
All images Ⓒ Japan Fashion Week Organization