By  on September 10, 2007

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.

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