Giving Jun Takahashi a huge bear hug, Valentino’s Pier Paolo Piccioli was the first to place an order on an Undercover capsule bearing surreal, sci-fi illustrations he designed in collaboration with the Japanese designer after having himself showcased the prints on pieces in the Valentino collection just a couple of hours earlier.
The flying saucer from the Valentino show, an homage to author Edgar Allan Poe, his face merged in the collage, landed in the collection. But whereas Piccioli applied them to suits and topcoats, Takahashi used them to decorate the hems of puffers and track pants, a humongous boxy red parka and a silhouette pairing a brown corduroy suit with a green silky parka with a huge V, marking a great commercial experiment.
But Takahashi’s main collection tipped its feathered bowler hat to another time-traveling theme, “A Clockwork Orange,” with images of the film’s protagonist, Alex DeLarge, screen-printed on everything from outerwear to the knees of sweatpants.
A menacing gang of medieval characters opened the show, dressed in brightly colored hooded spongy robes and fringed mohair shawls, accessorized with incredible feathered, venetian-style hooked nose masks, sashes, surgical rain boots and thick knitted gauntlets, wielding canes like the main character of the film.
Everything from the knits sporting words based on the film’s Russian-inspired Nadsat slang, like Prestoopnik, with Renaissance-style fine-gauze knitwear collars peeking out, to the fleecy textures looked super cozy and comfortable, with lovely use of coloring, such as a jean jacket shaped garment in a rusty velvet. Even the tailored parts were soft and crumpled with Dickens airs.
In a season of elevating streetwear, the way he cross-referenced casual, street and pop elements in this madcap fantasy world — from the theatrics, accessories and music, including the finale track — “Singing in the Rain” — was inspirational.