TOKYO — Japan Fashion Week capped its eight-day run last week, drawing accolades from buyers and presenting a variety of looks from clean tailored trenchcoats to Goth bloomers.
Overall, buyers voiced positive reactions to the shows and presentations.
Philip Manghisi of Jeffrey, a guest who received a paid trip to Tokyo from JFW organizers, said he was impressed with the quality of the men’s wear offering, particularly Phenomenon and Whiz Limited. He is hoping the store will be able to pick up some Tokyo merchandise, but it will be challenging to find the budget for it after the collections in Europe and New York, he explained. RELATED STORY: Spring 2013 Tokyo Collections, The Trends >>
Echoing observations made by other Japan Fashion Week observers, Manghisi said it is hard to see where Tokyo fits into the broader international fashion picture, given its distant geographic location to Europe and the United States and its positioning in the calendar after a marathon month of fashion shows taking place in New York, London, Milan and Paris. That said, he sees an American market for some of the clothes he saw here.
“In New York, it’s relatively simple to find international brands. You can buy, you know, Gucci at a million stores, you can buy Celine at a million stores. You can buy Prada, Givenchy. All these stores carry those things. So I think that a lot of designer customers want to find something that is on par with those brands, but something that they can’t find anywhere else,” he said.
Lorenzo Hadar of H Lorenzo was also a Japan Fashion Week guest this season, but he has been a fixture of the Tokyo show circuit for years. He was fairly happy with the season in Tokyo but felt there was a certain lack of energy — attributable to the global economic situation more than anything Japan-specific.
Hadar particularly liked the G.V.G.V. and Facetasm shows and found some promising young talent — particularly in accessories — at the RoomsLink trade fair held concurrently with the shows.
His budget for Japanese brands was in line with that of last season, he said, adding that the strength of the yen didn’t affect his buying decisions. The retailer said his customer is willing to shell out more for a newer brand they are less familiar with and that gives his store a certain cachet.
Miyako Sekimoto, fashion director at Matsuya department store, said she was rather pleased with the shows she saw and could see evidence of both creative talent and business potential.
“The shows were much more commercial than last season. At the same time, the shows weren’t boring,” she said, adding that her spring budget for Japan designers is in line with that of last year.
She said that Japanese brands the store carries, including Mint Designs and men’s label Kolor, which does not show in Tokyo, are resonating with customers, as they are a cheaper alternative to imported apparel from Europe.
“People don’t spend so much money on clothes, but they like to get something new…so they can feel fresh,” she said.
Kazuyoshi Minamimagoe, senior creative director at Beams, said he thought the men’s fashion was particularly strong, especially from White Mountaineering, Yoshio Kubo and Facetasm. But he also gave a nod to women’s brands like Mikio Sakabe and Written Afterwards, which tap into distinctive Japanese youth culture.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast