Although this year's events for the Tokyo Collection of 2011/2012 fall and winter fashions were canceled in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, designers based in the metropolis rallied to offer "new hope" for recovery.
Many found ways to present their collections on the Internet or by rescheduling fashion shows in the weeks that followed the Tokyo Collection's original mid- to late March timeslot.
"New hope" was the theme for Mintdesigns and Anrealage at their fashion shows in April.
Designers Hokuto Katsui and Nao Yagi at Mintdesigns presented a collection April 9 that featured a line of checkerboard A-line designs. The simple, colorful combinations provide visual impact while leaving a playful impression.
Originally, the designers had planned an inorganic, cold image for the show, but changed their minds after the quake, they said. Instead of blacks and browns, they filled the hall with light and the clothing with warm colors such as pink and yellow.
At the finale, all the lights were turned off throughout the hall, allowing fluorescent hair accessories worn by the models to illuminate the faces in the audience.
"We wanted offer a message of hope. Our mission is to help ensure the industry doesn't grind to a halt" amid the economic downturn following the quake, one designer said.
Anrealage was full of surprises, with pixilated mosaics in clashing colors against black backgrounds, reminiscent of '70s videogame screens. The enlarged, jagged pixel patterns leave one feeling strangely lost in a digital world.
Designer Kunihiko Morinaga's original keyword for the show was "resolution." He said he had at first intended to use sharper, high-resolution images on the fabric prints, but changed his mind after the disaster.
"I found that when the image resolution was lower, the original image could still be discerned when viewed from a distance. I changed the theme of the show to 'retained shape,'" Morinaga said.
Etw.Vonneguet was among the first labels to hold a show after the earthquake, with designer Olga having her hair cut live on stage on March 22.
The designer said that she felt she was only doing the right thing by staging a show. If she hadn't, she feared that people such as buyers would be faced with more trouble, Olga said.
Meanwhile, other labels, such as beautiful people, showcased individuality at exhibition-style shows.
Hidenori Kumakiri of beautiful people presented styles "made with traditional sturdiness but enhanced with a touch of frivolity."
In cooperation with the well-established Van brand, Kumakiri slightly altered the materials and regimented balance of jackets worn by the Miyuki-zoku--the young Japanese of the 1960s who were the first to adopt the Ivy League look. The result is something today's mods are sure to love.
One piece in Kumakiri's collection was a long, flowing dress inspired by the supersize transvestite TV celeb Matsuko Deluxe, Kumakiri said. The dress overflows with femininity and style, a humorous yet practical statement by the designer.
(This article was written by Makiko Takahashi and Mikako Abe.)
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