Five years after his last fashion show in Tokyo, Yoshio Kubo made his return this season, writing in his show notes that his time showing overseas made him more conscious of his origins. He also wrote that he was drawn to the power and reach of digital presentations, as well as the honesty and excitement of an in-person show. His solution was a combination of the two: a small runway show with a limited audience, which he also livestreamed. In addition, those present at the show were asked to put on a pair of headphones, which gave them a deeper, more layered soundtrack than that which was heard in the stream.
The look: Kubo said his concept for spring was “warrior monk,” which he came up with when trying to pinpoint what Japanese-style military influences might look like. He said in the past, these warrior monks would try to make themselves look bigger in order to intimidate their enemies, which he interpreted as oversized silhouettes. He also incorporated a print of tiles used in shogi, or Japanese chess, which is said to be a pastime favored by some monks.
Standout pieces: Kubo’s modern take on armor ― panels of shimmery, cutout mesh layered over the sleeves of bomber jackets or wrapped around the waist like a sheer skirt ― was innovative and unique, as well as eye-catching. Sheer, kimono-collared coats, and coordinating pants, shirts and jackets in tech fiber, were simple and versatile, and Kubo added points of interest with curved panels of contrasting colors.
Takeaway: Kubo’s style has evolved since he last showed a collection in his home country, becoming more streamlined and refined. He showed a talent for mixing casual street style with high-quality fabrics and chic detailing.