We're supplementing our list of designers to know from Paris Fashion Week with six additional designers, all hailing from Japan and all firmly established in the fashion firmament. The renowned names include Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo of COMME des GARÇONS, Chitose Abe from Sacai, Jun Takahashi from UNDERCOVER, and Yosuke Aizawa of White Mountaineering. See the highlights from their Spring/Summer 2017 runway shows in the following galleries.
Designer Jun Takahashi referred to UNDERCOVER's Spring 2017 collection as men's "daily wear," though the billowing blankets and random symbology belied the simple utility conveyed by those words. The application of text and patchwork lent an improvisational air to the proceedings, keeping in line with the trademark vibe of youthful rebellion that's something of an UNDERCOVER calling card.
Yosuke Aizawa's runway show was split into two parts, the first showcasing his own collection for White Mountaineering, the second featuring the ongoing collaboration with adidas Originals, now in its third season. Bold graphics and prints were the dominant theme from part 1, while the joint venture with adidas was dominated by colorful sportswear and a playful take on the signature three-stripes.
COMME des GARÇONS Shirt
Rei Kawabuko worked in the standard stripes and checks throughout her collection, though the shirting was often stylized with boat or sailor-type collars. Eventually, a collaboration with the artist Noah Lyon saw prints and paintings on shirts and sweaters, paired with cropped flared pants and pajama-like bermudas, ultimately acting as a radical fusion of commerce and art.
Belying her quiet, cerebral demeanor, Chitose Abe is seemingly a fan of Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange," as the cult film's influence was seen in the low-pulled bowler-style hats, white bombers and skinny pants worn with heavy boots. Elsewhere, Mexican poncho fabrics and assorted folkloric prints offered the vibe of the freewheeling global traveler.
COMME des GARÇONS Hommes Plus
Rei Kawakubo looked to Hans Christian Andersen's fable, "The Emperor's New Clothes," for the inspiration for her collection. Both clear and opaque plastics, tailored into raincoats, jackets and capes, and even a pair of Nike Dunks, seemed to offere trenchant commentary on the impermanence and superficiality of fashion.
The leather coats, pork pie hats and tattoos gave the impression of a "retro gangster," though Junya Watanabe softened the menacing mien with floral prints and bermuda shorts. Aside from the inspiration drawn from the European farce "Black Cat, White Cat," the collection was also distinguished with a series of collaborations: Levi's wide-leg jeans, fine-gauge John Smedley knitwear and Heinrich Dinkelacker shoes.
Yohji Yamamoto railed against the standard business suit when he started his line in the '80s, and decades later, he continues the fight. His collection in Paris was built on a foundation of loose, oversized layers, with linen duster coats hand-painted with irreverent slogans, showing that the old master has maintained his sense of humor.