#SuzyPFW: Sound And Wonder From Japanese Designers
Undercover: Double Sensation
The music sounded like The Shining. And then as a pair of slightly spooky models came out, hand-in-hand, looking straight ahead and then turning like dolls, the shivery discomfort of the 1980s horror movie glided through the Undercover show.
That creepy atmosphere came through the polite, tight-waisted 1950s-style dresses, or shorter 1960s versions, and all sorts of patterns: from flowers to red lips and black cats. The surprise was in print, where the famous artistic self-portraits by Cindy Sherman were used as graphics on T-shirts or dresses.
But there was another layer of mystery. In fact, all was revealed only after the final parade of slightly old-fashioned dresses for women or dainty girls, as if the clothes were taken from the back cupboards of The Shining’s scary hotel.
Backstage, the designer Jun Takahashi talked first about Cindy Sherman. Then the Japanese designer let off the big bang:
“Inside!” he said, leaving an interpreter and a backstage dresser to show that each and every outfit was reversible into another. So, either of the twinned models could have stood on the stage, and turned their outfits inside out to morph, fashionably speaking, into each other.
Takahashi is an extraordinarily imaginative designer – not just in the way he creates clothes that often look deceptively simple, but in the concepts he chooses.
Whether he was wise to replace completely his usual streamlined and energised sportswear for these feminine outfits is a fashion question. As a work of imaginative art, the show was sensational.
Issey Miyake: Arctic Summer
An eerily beautiful picture of the frozen North Pole formed the invitation at Issey Miyake. But it is to the credit of designer Yoshiyuki Miyamae that he offered not just visual inspiration but also fabric explanations.
“The inspirations are the memories of the landscapes of Iceland – great clefts in hard, crystal clear glaciers and moss gleaming in the rays of the sun,” were the designer’s visual muse. He was equally eager to explain the three-dimensional forms he had developed with the flattening “steam-stretch” treatment; while the familiar pleats were set unevenly to mirror the undulating Icelandic landscape.
The search for new fabric is seminal to the Miyake ethos. The company has existed for almost five decades on inventive and imaginative materials, but the spirit is to cherish a new performance of materials while assimilating them with the fashion of today. So, the technique – although inventive – resulted in a simple collection of long dresses or separates all shaded with patterns of light and shadow.
With the more intellectual ideas came free-flying imagery as dancers flung themselves around to show the materials in movement. The designer has built a way of showing that’s unique to himself but respectful to the brand. Sometimes it uses atonal music; at others inventive musical groups, but everything melds together creating shows to remember and comprehensible clothes.