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The Latest From Japan Fashion Week

The shows are continuing to deliver an intriguing mix of fashion, featuring everything from scout uniforms to flowing chiffon dresses.

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TOKYO — Japan Fashion Week is continuing to deliver an intriguing mix of spring-summer fashion, featuring everything from scout uniforms to flowing chiffon dresses and sculptural clothing inspired by birds.

This story first appeared in the October 21, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Here, some highlights from the week:

• Jenny Fax designer Shueh Jen-Fang tapped into her memories of boarding school and rolled out takes on classic school uniforms and beauty queens. There were pleated skirts galore, tiaras and princess dresses reminiscent of Disney heroines. But there were plenty of subversive twists as well. Manga illustrations featured prominently, including a set of eyes that appeared on the chest of a few looks.

• Johan Ku is well known for his textured knitwear, and he demonstrated that again this season with amped-up showmanship. His models emerged from backstage looking like alien beings, thanks to special lighting that made his nearly all-white collection glow in the dark. The designer showed what seemed like countless variations on the sweater dress and knit tops in varying textures.

• Shiho Shiroma showed a collection of skin-baring, sensuously feminine dresses in softly flowing chiffon and fluidly draped jersey. Abstract prints in pastel purple, pink, blue and gray mingled with white shirts and layered skirts for a distinctively spring feeling. Shiroma added a modern edge to her designs with athleticwear-inspired details like drawstrings, zippers, metal snaps and hoods, as well as a series of pieces made from raw deerskin in a unique texture created by a metallic foiling process.

• Yoshio Kubo generated a hipster-appropriate men’s collection with influences both beachy and urban. His bottle-blond lads wore a mix of striped tailored wear and colorful boardshorts. A few multicolored knit suits, one with short pants and one with full-length trousers, were particularly eye-catching, as was a shirt with a trompe l’oeil bandana print. Unfortunately, a live band’s rather loud instrumental rock-style jam upstaged much of the proceedings.

• Again this season, Sara Arai mixed Western and Asian influences into a collection that contained an abundance of luxurious fabrics and artful details for her label, Araisara. Silhouettes were soft but sculptural, with round puff sleeves, cascading ruffles, wide pleats and belted waists. Particularly striking were a pair of flyaway chiffon dresses with straps made of patchwork squares of Chinese silk jacquards in silver, gold, white and black.

• Tamae Hirokawa’s spring offering for Somarta was inspired by falcons and thunderbirds, and for a collection that didn’t use a single feather, many pieces accomplished the feat of resembling winged creatures while still remaining wearable. The designer employed an almost Escher-esque geometric design, which was printed on dresses, embroidered onto stiff vests and knitted into fishnet bodysuits. Jackets that came to protruding points at the back recalled birds’ tails, and thin ruffles in chiffon and tissue jersey on necklines, sleeves and hems fluttered like feathers.

• Né-net’s Kazuaki Takashima kept things youthful this season, rolling out scout uniforms, rugby shirts and varsity sweaters with a funky Harry Potter vibe. Patchwork denim and wide trousers gave off a whimsical Seventies feel. One of the more distinctive styles was a pair of pants resembling a miniature jumpsuit with a button-down front and sleeves swinging down from the waist. In a few lighthearted moments, models made their way down the runway with stuffed dogs on leashes and plush hawks on their arms.

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