Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on October 2009
The first day of Japan fashion week was packed, with 8 shows and auxiliary exhibitions here and there. On the second day yesterday, buyers and press seemed to settle in a bit and enjoy the shows more.
Aguri Sagimori put on a great show as always. This young designer always draws inspiration from sources well outside the realm of fashion. Her first collection was inspired by Hitchcock’s The Birds. This doesn’t mean she clad models in minimal green dresses like the one Tippi Hedren sports in the film. Rather, bird (and little tricklings of blood expressed in red crystals) became a design motif. Another collection drew on literature, with text and Japanese characters drawn on and woven into material. This time, Sagimori took a hint from architecture. The designer was fascinated by the look and texture of an antique door she photographed during travels in Europe. The glass had grown a bit rough around the edges over time, and had different reflective properties in different areas. The silver-plated door chain had tarnished, and the wrought iron handles had grown shiny, after years of being smoothed over by countless human hands.
The look of this door inspired the selection of materials, which range from shimmering blacks to metallic silvers. “I choose the materials first and let them dictate the style,” the designer says. Accessories employed silver that was intentionally tarnished, leaving a coal-black surface with a hint of metal underneath, and leather which had been printed with patterns and then sanded down until the patterns had all but vanished. The black felt runway was decorated with a thin line of finely crushed glass (no big shards). This gradually became spread out as the models walked over it, which was clearly the point. The look of the runway was echoed in a black silk blouse with a splash of glass beads over one shoulder.
Day 2 Highlights
Biggest surprise: Tamae Hirokawa’s brand Somarta is known for its avant garde designs that seem to have come from another planet. This season, Hirokawa presents a softer, more feminine line.
Worst location: Theatre Products always put on a fun show. They once had live band playing Nirvana covers while models rocked down the runway. Another time a live jazz band played while models lounged on a sofa in center stage. This time they elected to hold their show in a corridor two-meters wide, which had photographers grumbling about bad angles and the audience on the verge of passing out due to lack of oxygen.
Best interview: It is customary for designers to come out after the show and recite their concept for the current collection, which is always printed in the press info anyway and promptly disappear (thanks!). Aguri Sagimori, surrounded by reporters and camera men, chatted for over half an hour. Nice one.