Zany runway antics have always been a part of Tokyo Fashion Week, although the number of theatrical shows has definitely died down over the past few seasons as the city’s designers have opted for a more commercial (read: play-it-safe) approach.

 

But leave it to Yoshikazu Yamagata, a LVMH Prize semifinalist, to maintain the theatrical tradition — and to shake things up this season. An intriguing mix of influences guided him for fall. At one end of the spectrum: Anna Wintour’s first Vogue cover from 1988, starring Israeli model Michaela Bercu in a haute couture Christian Lacroix jacket with a beaded cross. At the other: Shigeru Mizuki’s manga series “Kitaro of the Graveyard,” which delves into a world of ghouls and mythological creatures.

 

The result of this inspirational mash-up was a high-octane show filled with outlandish looks referencing everything from traditional Japanese kimonos and geta sandals to hip-hop streetwear and animal motifs. There was a jacket made from ripped-up stuffed toys thrown over a long tiger-print dress and topped with a lampshade-shaped hat. There was a cocoon-shaped wrap coat covered in colored feathers and a helmet/mask that looked like a mass of decomposing fabric bearing trash bags of clothing and/or fabric. Another exit incorporated gold lamé pants with a miniature skeleton hanging off of them, a red glittery bustier, an embroidered coat and a headpiece featuring a chicken and a veil. A gown made, seemingly, of sandpaper closed the presentation.

 

Several models limped, lurched and staggered down the runway, zombie-style, and many wore Halloween-worthy masks and makeup. One male model sported a single red eye, replicating the image on his pullover. Appropriately enough, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” hit the speakers as the audience members trickled out.

 

Needless to say, there was a lot going on in this show, and not everything held together. But it’s very rawness was a refreshing chance of pace, given the somewhat listless feel that has permeated the Tokyo collections so far.

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