Hiroyuki Horihata and Makiko Sekiguchi are an extremely talented pair, with a knack for taking intriguing textiles and turning them into chic, wearable clothes that sport a distinctive Japanese vibe.


They accomplished that goal to a certain extent this season, namely through a few lovely kimono dresses (something of a calling card for the brand), including a gray number with a batik fabric treated with carbon — an old technique from the Japanese city Nara — and an purple-tinged ombré version layered under a long striped jacket. But as for the rest, something was off.


The designers said haze and dreams inspired their fall collection. That must have been the logic for the fog-filled runway, which gave the show a somber,  rather depressing feel.


Then there was the color palette, a muddy mix of blues, grays, olives and camels. Many pieces, like the shin-length skirts and dresses, felt dated. One ruffled orange frock — one of the rare departure from the dark tones — looked especially unflattering; another exit, incorporating a knit vest, looked downright grandmotherly. Dowdy styling also weighed this collection down — ditch the floppy hats, for starters.


Some strong pieces, styled right, could look modern. Multicolored striped tailored jackets would look cool in another context, and pleated skirts hitting just below the knee could work with a proportion-balancing smaller top in a fun print or color. But these gems required extraction from the rest of the soupy sludge.

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