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"SHEER FANTASIES" TOKYO FASHION WEEK HIGHLIGHTS (PART 3)
The final two days of Tokyo Fashion Week were jam-packed with collections filled with sheer femininity and surrealism, reminding us that fashion is a realm for us to envision and realize our own fantasies, dreams, and aspirations.
Atsushi Nakashima presented a strong outing this season juxtaposing sharp geometric lines with long billowy handkerchief dresses and skirts which added volume and drama to this very feminine collection. A favorite, was a handkerchief dress with layers of chalky silk chiffon undulating from a white perforated leather neckline. Nakashima’s years working for Jean Paul Gaultier shown through perhaps the most in the gold and blue conical bra one model wore under a completely sheer sapphire blouson with a demure shawl collar neckline. Paired with diamante printed leggings the look was as cogently decorous as it was prescient: printed leggings and sheer fabrics approached near ubiquity this season.
A Degree Fahrenheit designer Yu Amatsu presented an all-white collection that managed to dodge the predictable blasé clichés associated with a monochrome palette by showcasing the endless potential of fabrics and textures. A standout look combined an asymmetrically draped one-sleeve mini-dress belted above the waist with a floor-sweeping feather light skirt. Delicate chiffon bisected the maxi-skirt to reveal a comely amount of leg. Amatsu’s runway was lined with Dyson’s bladeless fans, ensuring each model would have her own Marilyn moment. Yasutoshi Ezumi’s collection was also focused around a strict palette: black, white, and royal blue: even the model’s tightly pulled back hair stayed true to this. The highlight of this retail-ready collection was a simple black pencil dress modernized with frilled peplums and worn over this season’s statement printed tights (Ezumi’s iteration featuring repeating geometric prisms).
Let’s not forget, though, that the purpose of a fashion show isn’t to solely present a collection of garments to buyers, stylists, and editors. The fashion show exists as a moment in time, a spectacle, creating a fantastical world in which the designer’s seasonal vision can be conveyed. Often aided through music and cinematographic backdrops, surrealist hair and makeup, the fashion show as spectacle even has the opportunity to make a philosophical and erudite statement on the current state of fashion and even society at large. The presentation of Motonari Ono’s collection was quite unique. Models skulked the catwalk holding mannequin busts that overshadowed their own outfits (beautifully feminine floral printed peplum frocks, by the way). The mannequins they held wore romantic dresses with layers of ruffles, lace, and chiffon, and were eventually hung along the catwalk. Ono’s final models ran solo, sporting sheer cream looks: a favorite featuring a cropped blouson with a Peter Pan collar over a 20’s era fringed flapper dress. Only each tier of the dress was overlaid in black lace and modernized with a sweetheart neckline. After such a spectacle, one was left not only reminiscing about the clothes but about Ono’s presentation. Were models forced to hold heavy mannequins to comment on the ever-increasing demands placed on models? Or perhaps the polemic: models are just an endless sea of expendable bodies serving no other purpose than the lifeless mannequin. Or, maybe, Ono’s statement had nothing to do with the models, but was commenting on the spectacle of a fashion show. When viewing images of the collection online, flat, in two dimensions, half of Ono’s collection is lost (for the mannequins obfuscated half the collection worn by the models). When leaving a fashion show with such cryptic and recondite messages, it’s ensured that the clothes aren’t the only lingering ideas.
But fashion shows aren’t only about presenting abstruse messages; they’re about aspirational fantasies of luxury and surrealist dreams too. Designer Tamae Hirokawa of Somarta presented a collection of magical art nouveau faeries down her runway this season. While the vibe was ethereal thanks to the streaks of silver shadow around the eye and the floral and botanical prints featured on her patterned tights and bodysuits, the collection could be mined for distinctly modern and wearable pieces. A standout was a cardigan featuring draping over the shoulders (her faeries wings, perhaps) worn over a slashed handkerchief skirt in sapphire. Hirokawa’s expertise in knitwear was also memorable, especially in an intricately detailed mushroom and ivy colored romper.
The potential of fashion’s sheer fantasies was perhaps most realized literally in designer Alice Yasutaka Funakoshi’s Alice in Wonderland inspired collection for Alice Auaa. Obviously infused with the brand’s Lolita-goth aesthetic, this collection was an homage to both the fantasies of Lewis Carroll and all the young Harajuku girls eager to don these new wares come next spring. The mad tea party was turned upside down and worn as a skirt structured with white crinoline ensconced in sheer chiffon and worn with a Victoriana-era ruffled blouse. Alice made a detour down her rabbit hole and discovered Bauhaus and The Cure, coming out the other side wearing shredded tights and a black matte lip. My particular fantasy definitely includes shirtless, Doctor Marten clad men wearing nothing but shredded tights, sheer briefs, and leather skull-caps!
by Michael Costa