Top designers in Japan and beyond recently gathered in the capital at Tokyo Fashion Week to produce the best trends for spring and summer 2020. Metropolis set out to scout our top five collections this season. Consider this your comprehensive guide to Japan’s high-fashion brands.
Yoshiki Hayashi, known simply as Yoshiki, is the co-founder of the rock band X Japan and one of the most influential composers in Japanese history. As the son of a kimono business owner and creative director of Yoshikimono, Yoshiki knows the craftsmanship behind the most traditional garment of the Japanese wardrobe. His mission to reinvent tradition with an androgynyous, cutting-edge-style is groundbreaking.
Yoshiki’s show catered to a vision of youth and included a wide variation of glam dresses and edgier-style kimono. There’s no underestimating the power of this artist; the collection felt like an impeccably detailed wardrobe of a Japanese rocker chick: the super-short, sparkly, asymmetrically shoulderless dresses with an idiosyncratic punky 80s silhouette. In the second half, the master himself joined the models on the catwalk, playing his signature clear Kawai piano, which was lit from below with a row of blue lights, and the audience was transformed into his rockstar mythology.
Gone were the traditional kimonos featuring bright colors and familiar patterns — the Yoshiki girl prefers the anime series “Attack on Titan,” and Stan Lee creation “Blood Red Dragon” motifs on her sexy kimono.
Spring Yoshiki Youth was a little more in love with color and a lot more comfortable with prints. Classic motifs, such as chrysanthemums and alternative floral prints enhanced with metallic accents, embellished mini and ankle-length dresses.
With over 60 years of experience in the fashion industry, designer Hiroko Koshino has reached stratospheric stardom, becoming the fairy godmother of Japanese womenswear.
With a fashionably late start to the show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the 55-look collection that emerged was simply outstanding with its clean lines, modern cuts and composed, sophisticated pieces. Koshino’s sense of experimentation through garments bridged the gap between haute couture and ready-to-wear. Gowns engraved in color blocking with seas of warm tones and vibrant hues prove Koshino truly understands the conceptual deconstruction of colors.
The show’s concept was “Play Around the Music,” with an appearance by Japanese pianist Yukio Yokoyama. The catwalk imitated a keyboard, with each model representing a piano key. Koshino transports us to a music sheet of composed modernity. From her keyboard-inspired monochrome pieces to her bold use of colors and volume, Koshino promises us relaxed, straightforward harmony in a chaotic world.
After he was scouted by none other than Katie Grand, British stylist and founding editor-in-chief of Love, on Instagram, Tomo Koizumi showcased his first-ever presentation in New York at the Marc Jacobs’ Madison Avenue boutique during New York Fashion Week earlier this year. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, “Stranger Things” star Millie Bobby Brown, Sophie Turner from “Game of Thrones,” and Miley Cyrus have graced his dresses. For his first show in Japan, Koizumi brought his tulle statement gowns to Tokyo Fashion Week, which was mostly dominated by streetwear brands this year. Runway stars Chiharu Okunugi and Miki Ehara led the stardust catwalk in looks carefully selected by the designer.
Geometrically constructed with extravagant silhouettes, Koizumi’s statement pieces brought drama to the largely one-toned event. The dresses weren’t, by any means, everyday garments; everything was hand-stitched and made from as much as two meters of fabric, which Koizumi custom makes for individual clients in his apartment studio in Nakameguro. It’s not the first time we’ve seen voluminous mille-feuille, over-the-top dresses, but Koizumi’s designs are made of Japanese polyester organza. The result is striking, with mountains of tulle capes. His flamboyant vision gave an additional dose of drama to his already extravagant silhouettes.
Making his debut earlier this year as one of the winners of the 2019 Tokyo Fashion Award, Takayuki Chino came back determined to transform Tokyo’s womenswear into a flair of Parisian chic.
For this season, Takayuki Chino was inspired by the elegant, effortless French way of styling clothes. The collection featured all the Cinoh codes and signatures: clean lines, exquisite use of color blocking, playful yet mature garments and rich, high-quality materials. There was an emphasis on the typical bourgeois chic , with tailoring and relaxed office-wear dresses in neutral hues of off-white, beige and gray. Indigo-dyed shirts and red and beige flannel button-up shirts that doubled as oversized outerwear topped off the creations. With a flawless pattern technique and contemporary elements, Cinoh delivered a très chic collection.
With over 25 years in the fashion industry, Tae Ashida is known for her elegant and sophisticated workwear and gala-worthy gowns. Among her clients are high profile royals, politicians and ambassador wives from across the globe. It was rather surprising, then, to see T-shirts with abstract painted art and cubist deconstructions of portraiture on the catwalk.
Ashida’s collection was intelligent on every level, without lacking the luxurious luxe and soft tailoring fans expect from her mastery. From her energetic interplay of color and zigzag patterns, to a clash of tulle pastel statement pieces, it was a perfect storm of modernity without resorting to old-fashioned patterns. In technical terms, Ashida’s aim for spring was casualizing her silhouettes into their own entities. The result was a collection that was stunning, uplifting and incredible to watch how she continued her futuristic fabrics this season with a variety of new silhouettes.