Taking his brand name quite literally, Yosuke Aizawa sent out a succession of climbers in outfits inspired by the summits, their hair frosted white. “When you’re that high, you have to wear the real gear,” he said backstage through a translator. He could have been talking about the altitude, or his attitude to design. When he started the brand 12 years ago, his focus was on elevating technical wear by combining it with fashion.
The real gear it was indeed, with nary an urbane silhouette. Opening with looks that seemed to walk out of climbing history — plaids, thick knit sweaters in Nordic patterns, boiled wool on a toothsome duffle coat — the collection steadily progressed toward serious climbing gear that came with bandoliers hung with carabiners, as well as the bright colors that come with the technical territory. The final group, in black and white, wouldn’t look out of place on a mountain face, but equally good keeping the urban chill away.
On the whole, Aizawa considered layering thrice: as items atop each other, as techniques augmenting each other, and as different surface motifs overlaid. Peak performance was reached on one down jacket, which featured a Gore-Tex outer shell to extend its insulating properties; in a printed blouson featuring multiple camouflage patterns laid over each other; in the trousers that ran the gamut from skinny to wide on the thigh.
In execution, his design approach was as meticulous as ever; it terms of style, he would have found the summits had he chosen another route.