TOKYO — Tribal motifs, a relaxed mood and, of course, typical Japanese kawaii, or "cute," were all on display during the runway shows at Japan Fashion Week. The five-day event showcased the latest works for spring 2008 from 38 brands and took place mainly at Tokyo Midtown in the Roppongi district.
The idea behind the shows is "to introduce the nation's talented young designers to the world at the beginning of the world's collection circuit," according to JFW, although some brands decided not to hold shows due to the tight schedule between the nation's summer holidays and the New York collections.
On the first day of the runway shows, called Tokyo Collection Week, Mercibeaucoup showed a new version of Japanese kawaii clothes with a theme of "star in the sky." From huge star-shaped sunglasses installed on the runway came out models with cloud-like star wigs on their heads. The brand's designer Eri Utsugi, aka Tokyo fashion's pop and funky mother, produced border and dotted prints as well as star patterns.
Naoto, a Goth and Lolita punk charisma brand, showed during the official collection schedule for the first time. The brand received more than 10 inquiries from overseas after the show. Naoto, whose fan list includes American musician Marilyn Manson, has been basically sold only in Japan, but "joining the [Tokyo] collection for the first time raised our reputation among a wider range of people in the industries," said company executives.
In Hall A, which had 600 seats and some space for standing, Dresscamp showcased a collection with a Moroccan theme that mixed romanticism with an ethnic motif in floral patterns and lace. Earthy and airy hues were often used instead of its specialty of shiny colors. Designer Toshikazu Iwaya plans to show in Paris in fall 2008.
Ylang Ylang used vivid colors such as lemon yellow, lavender, fuchsia pink and mandarin in dresses under a theme of Surrealism, while the Lyricis brand created a scene from a picnic with light brown, pale orange or green cotton dresses or skirts.
One of the brands generating the most attention was Somarta. In its third show since its debut, designer Tamae Hirokawa showed another version of "the second skin," or body-fitted knitwear with gold capes and black or white dresses. Under a theme of "engraver," she unveiled tattoo-like knit patterns with the models' faces perfectly painted.Some strong brands, such as Mintdesigns, didn't show on the official schedule due to timing or the availability of venues.
Aurilie Paronnaud, a teacher at Es Mode Japon, found some brands are salable in Europe. "Of course the market here is different from Europe, but the quality is excellent," she said.
Maiko Shibata, women's creative merchandiser for Restir, an emerging Japanese specialty chain that is a favorite of the nation's celebrities, said she would continue to buy Somarta for next spring. "I was expecting a more refreshing style from Somarta, just like the brand gave us a jolt in her first collection," said Shibata after the show. "But her style is just being recognized in the market. It is selling well at our stores to a wide range of customers."
Tia Browsh, owner of Los Angeles-based specialty store Jack Henry, liked Somarta's body-fitted knits and Matohu's style, but was dissatisfied with Japanese kawaii brands such as Mercibeaucoup and Ne-net. "I wasn't blown away by those brands," she said. For the store, whose customer list is filled with Hollywood celebrities, they are "academic." But "Dresscamp is very energetic and salable. I felt so when the show started," said Browsh.
This fall, JFW kicked off the world's collection circuit before New York, but most Japanese brands will show at a trade exhibition in October. Therefore, "I cannot say now how much I will buy," said Browsh.
The next JFW will be held March 10 to 16, with the runway shows making up Tokyo Fashion Week held March 11 to 15.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)