This collection was a big step up from last season — brighter, sharper and more varied — but was marred by the fact that it started so late.
Guests caught a chill outside as they waited to get into the venue and, once inside, they had to wait even longer for the coed show to start. Tokyo James and his models were on time, lined up and ready to go, but were let down by the people who organized the show and by the jam-packed schedule on Saturday.
James called the collection “Code Switch,” wanting to show how clothes can function as armor and as a way of sending different signals to the wider world.
There was color everywhere, even on models’ lips and teeth, which were covered in red lipstick, giving them a vampire-ish look.
Yet there was nothing scary about the collection, which showcased purple and yellow patchwork coats and jackets designed by James’ sister, and jaunty scarves sewn into the necks of the tailored pieces.
The scarves came in colors like electric blue, red and hot pink, and could be worn knotted or open, adding further flair to James’ many sequinned and embellished pieces.
The phrase “African Juju” was emblazoned in red sparkles across a dark, boxy jacket, while the names of Lagos neighborhoods popped in red and blue lettering across a roomy tailored suit.
The designer added more denim and knitwear to the mix, too, sourcing dead stock from his native Lagos for the black biker looks and other double denim ensembles. Knits, including a sweater with the gothic TJ logo, were made in South Africa.
James also worked with the British jeweler Tesui on the lovely silver lapel pins and earrings.
There was great surface interest here, too, with woolly, shearling-like toppers, including a floor-length coat with fishnet insets here and there, and a head-turning lavender and black biker jacket, which was more sweet rather than tough.