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Japan Fashion Week Spring 2009

Mintdesigns showed Spring 2009 at Japan Fashion Week Spring.

TOKYO — Japan Fashion Week, which ended its five-day run Sept 5, offered up some stunning clothes like matohu’s fresh and modern take on the kimono, LEP LUSS’s delicate minimalism and the uniquely Japanese quirkiness of mercibeaucoup and mintdesigns.

Still, some of the collections here lacked originality and rehashed European designers’ ideas rather than propose new ones.

“Young designers have to be more aggressive in showing their personality,” said Takatomo Ogawa, a buyer for Nara Store in Nagoya. “I was looking for a new talent during Japan Fashion Week but no newcomer satisfied my buying appetite.”

Despite the mixed reviews of JFW, there are still plenty of up-and-coming designers here worth checking out. Here’s a recap of the week:

Day One:

Rows of opened umbrellas bearing a lace pattern lined the wooden boardwalk as Mintdesigns made a bold move and staged an outdoor show to kick of Japan Fashion Week.

Mikio Sakabe went both futuristic and retro this season.

Motonari Ono’s one-note show riffed romantic with billowy blouses, corset skirts and tight pants with lace inserts.

Similarly, Fur Fur mined a specific theme—hyper feminine florals and lace—and piled it on the models layer after layer.

The Mercibeaucoup show embodied all that is fun and eclectic about Tokyo fashion.

Day Two:

Though always prepared to strike out on its own, Tokyo fashion often gives a nod in passing to European influences.

Akira Naka who spent much of his early career experimenting with knitwear with intriguing results, but like a true Japanese fashion rebel he chose to go a different direction for spring/summer.

Né Net designer Kazuaki Takashima said he thought about his own interpretation of heaven and hell for his spring/summer collection.

Support Surface‘s Norio Surikabe also knows a thing or two about a European sensibility.

Ato‘s spring/summer collection went extreme, albeit in a different way.

Aguri Sagimori showed an intriguing mix of tailored pieces with quirky touches.

Day Three:

The brand Everlasting Sprout got the third day of Japan Fashion Week started with a grating soundtrack — a jarring mix of live sax riffs, spoken word and synthesized cacophony. The clothes were a motley mix too.

Tiny Dinosaur designer Naomi Yamamoto incorporated traditional Japanese design motifs into her spring/summer collection.

Sunao Kuwahara’s collection started with a nymph-like girl in a black dress on a green rounded stage. The designer said she looked to “angels in daily life” for inspiration.

A parade of cosmic patterns opened Zechia’s collection in the form of a colorful spotted voluminous dress in pink, green and blue. The design duo Lica and Naka said the ladybug inspired their show, staged on a grass runway.

Day Four:

Day four of Japan Fashion Week provided another set of contrasts with some beautifully crafted clothes as well as plenty of theatrics replete with drag queens and a live pony.

Matohu simulated an ancient Japanese tie dying technique this season.

Writtenafterwards, staged its show in a children’s puppet theater and used a mannequins and a pony to unveil its collection of candy-striped separates.

Gut’s Dynamite Cabarets stayed true to its loyal drag queen fanbase by seating a trio of them in the front row – and putting a few on the catwalk to strut their stuff with a legion of underwear-clad fellows.

Sobriety returned later in the day, when six emerging designers from Italy unveiled their collections.

G.V.G.V. gave Tokyo a jolt of hard-edged sexiness with body-hugging dresses in bold geometric patterns, pants with zippers running down the entire leg and laced up corset looks.

Day Five:

RaphUs cUcU’s Eriko Isoya showed an endless stream of jersey dresses and jumpsuits in sherbet hues, with drawstring hems and unique fits.

LEP LUSS put out beautifully executed minimalist looks.“By making things simple, that makes the design even stronger,” said Yoshiko Kato, who designs the label with her fellow Issey Miyake alum Seiji Igeta.

Hidenobu Yasui played with volumes and androgyny with his spring/summer collection.

Somarta designer Tamae Hirokawa pondered human bone structure and evolution.She started with a utilitarian zippered pants suit and ended with knit dresses stretched over round metal cages.