By  on September 21, 2009

TOKYO — This city’s official fashion week doesn’t kick off until Oct. 19, but several Japanese brands have already hit the runway with off-calendar shows, proving Japan still has a long way to go in terms of unifying its design talents into a cohesive schedule with international appeal. Even more puzzling, many of these shows overlapped with New York Fashion Week — a move that pushed the brands even further off the fashion radar.

That said, there were plenty of intriguing things on offer. Usually focusing on single-themed collections, Né-Net’s Kazuaki Takashima picked three this season. He melded elements of Germanic folkwear, communist imagery and nautical motifs and sent out models in pageboy bobs and masks. Support Surface, designed by Norio Surikabe, turned out clean, delicately tailored pieces and floaty dresses, while Sunao Kuwahara delivered a flirty and feminine range punctuated with intense bursts of color, such as violet and melon.

In terms of men’s wear, Yoshio Kubo played with graphic variations of maps and camouflage to sporty effect, and John Lawrence Sullivan showed a collection rife with Eighties references, including shredded trousers, military jackets and fringe.

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