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Tokyo Fashion Week Day 1

Wake up world: Tokyo is worth paying attention to. Tilda Swinton said so.

This afternoon the actress, adored by fashion’s finest, watched – presumably in awe – as Tokyo Fashion Week was opened with the revival of Hanae Mori. The iconic house hasn’t been present on the runway for some time now, but SS15 sees the inaugural collection from acclaimed designer Yu Amatsu, who has breathed new life into the brand.

Hanae Mori SS15

A colossal offering (of 72 pieces! This is an awful lot for a Tokyo designer. Only the likes of Chanel and Saint Laurent, traditionally recognised as fashion heavyweights, usually manage such extravagant numbers) allowed Amatsu to play with prints, textiles, shapes and cuts. The vast collection thus achieved a balance of classic designs and more contemporary ideas, which in many places were realised rather exquisitely.

Hanae Mori SS15

Some of the colours were a little off, but simple silhouettes that featured intricate drapery and carefully considered slashes and cut-outs more than made up for it. What retailers will affectionately label “hero pieces” were indeed those quieter, sublimely elegant garments; simpler looks that allowed for subtleties to render novelty. Yet that didn’t distract from the charming story that was told in the romantic crescendo culminating in a parade of butterfly-printed pieces. If you’ll excuse the regurgitation of a metaphor, I dare say that the Hanae Mori butterfly was flying free from its chrysalis today.

At Somarta, the look was dramatically less refined. A negative critique would comment immediately on the lacklustre styling and suggest that there was simply too much going on.

Somarta SS15

A more positive view, if pushed, could find strength in the collection. There were impressive ideas to be discovered in the finer details. The knitwear, for example, was one of the abstract motifs that worked well: it stood out among the busy prints, as did the avant-garde bustiers and lampshade-like one-off pieces. These recalled Iris Van Herpen. Inspired, supposedly, by time. To speak frankly, it’s just a shame that the time for which the clothes were designed wasn’t take into consideration more. The wearable designs were, let’s say, all a little too now and not quite new enough.

Day 1 was concluded with the cartoonish charms of Dresscamp. The show was – suitably – overtly camp and full of flamboyance and pizzazz.

Dresscamp SS15

And for its sincerity, despite the fantastical nature of the collection, it was a fantastic show. Toshikazu Iwaya has been doing what Jeremy Scott has recently been lauded for at Moschino for a long time; he has a firmly established design aesthetic and successfully remains true to its character, however playful and far from reality it might be. There was something instantly loveable and irresistible about this season’s show.

Dresscamp SS15

An epic soundtrack, which might be more suited to a fantasy videogame, accompanied the bright colours, prints and shapes that paraded down the runway: oversize peplums, gold and silver lamés, graffiti prints, fringed skintight trousers on boys and dramatic, tiered dresses on girls. There was a lot to take in, but there was an irrefutable balance which gave the show what I’m inclined to call believability. It was the polar opposite from the sophisticated quietude that opened the Hanae Mori show; it was the other extreme of Tokyo fashion: unbridled fun that you would unlikely find anywhere else in the world.

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text by: Ben Sharp










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