Patchwork and prints mix with outerwear on the runways of Yoshio Kubo, Plastic Tokyo, and Name

From March 14-19, the biggest names in Tokyo design showed at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo. The full roster included AllSaints, Asian Fashion Meets Tokyo, Bennu, Cote Mer, Discovered, Diva, Dressedundressed, Ethosens, Ha ha, Hanae Mori Designed by Yu Amatsu, Hiromichi Nakano, In-Process by Hall Ohara, Johan Ku, Keiichirosense, Keita Maruyama, Lamarck, Matohu, Mint Designs, Motohiro Tanji, Mr. Gentleman, Name, Nguyen Cong Tri, Onitsuka Tiger x Andrea Pompilio, Plastictokyo, Theatre Products, Tokyo New Age, Tsukasa Mikami, Written Afterwards, Yoshio Kubo, and Yukihero Pro-Wrestiling. Notably missing from show however were the LVMH Prize semifinalists who relocated to Paris this year, Mikio Sakabe, and Facetasm.

Denim featured heavily on the Tokyo runways of Ha ha, Mihara Yasuhiro, and Motohiro Tanji

Tokyo proved to be a different beast than other recent fashion weeks. While at times the collections in Milan, Paris, London, and New York, were overshadowed by a unwavering celebrity presence, in Tokyo, a more laid-back crowd let the clothing take center stage. That’s not to say that the city didn’t have its own A-list admirers. Gwen Stefani, popstar and known Harajuku devotee, sat front row at the Keita Maruyama show, which featured a parade of prints, star spangled details, and one crocheted unicorn. In between snapping pictures at the show, Stefani, who was wearing a black bustier, shorts, and a sheer jacket adorned with purple and blue flowers, gushed, “I never even thought I would be able to come to fashion week Tokyo. I mean it just seems so far and such a big deal…I just feel like I’m in a dream right now.”

Outlandish accessories and props on the Tokyo runways of WrittenAfterwards, Nguyen Cong Tri, and Keito Maruyama

One of the objectives listed in the mission statement of Tokyo Fashion Week is “to become the starting point for cooperation between designers, manufacturers, and apparel retailers.” With the inclusion of denim, chunky knits, and techy, all-weather fabrics in many of the week’s collections it was easy to see how that goal could be easily realized by several designers. Name showed a myriad of jackets, all easily accessible to the fashion forward, but still sensible, consumer. Yoshio Kubo showed off technical chops with a collection that mixed puffer jackets and track suits with woven, ethnic textiles and Motohiro Tanji’s wide-legged pants with knit embellishments going down the sides might just be the next big thing in denim.

Tokyo street style
Tokyo street style

Although the Tokyo collections showcased a fair amount of consumer driven, ready-to-wear, it wasn’t all practicality at play. WrittenAfterwards had a ton of fun on the runway. Models in a modge podge of looks, from head to toe rainbow knits to flower powered pantaloons, walked with a eccentric cast of props, including but not limited to toy snakes, monster masks, a giant rose and rubber body parts. Vietnamese designer, Nguyen Cong Tri, used macrame to stunning effect in garments and on headpieces. Although his clothes were striking, it was the process behind the looks that could really be applauded, some of the silks used in the collection were dyed 90-100 times in order to achieve the correct hues. This year the 10th DHL Designer Award was given to Keisuke Imazaki for his brand, Plastic Tokyo. In a subtle nod to 90s raver gear, Plastic Tokyo’s collection showcased oversized jumpsuits held up with suspenders and graphic prints. In a city like Tokyo, what’s happening on the pavement is just as exciting as inside the venue. Throughout the week roving street photographers documented the street style of hundreds of Japan’s trendsetters and fashion followers.

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