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Thread: Y's Red Label by Michiko Suzuki S/S 09 Tokyo

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    Default Y's Red Label by Michiko Suzuki S/S 09 Tokyo

    Japan Fashion Week: Y's Red Label Turns Black
    September 2nd, 2008 | Tokyo

    Japan Fashion Week is just getting under way, but Y's Red Label is already making headlines—literally. Designed by Michiko Suzuki, the collection unofficially kicked off the spring/summer '09 runway celebration last week. Hauntingly titled "Witch," the show featured pieces from Red Label's third collection and was held among the trees of a park at dusk—headlined with a banner that read: "I'll paint the whole world black. Then the light will fall and caress it."

    As the audience sat in near darkness, several black figures made a mystifying entrance with bobbing fiber optical lights. This eerie glow gradually increased, revealing a sleek but somber set of tapered pants and blazers with giant black sequin discs or patterns of rubber screenprinting that glimmered in the light. The collection eventually transformed into a post-futuristic old world aesthetic of long loose sweaters and maxi skirts. The look was accented with sticks, bones and birds in mid-flight (engineered by Yoshiko Kajitani, of accessories brand Yoshiko Creation Paris) that jutted out of puffy Quaker skirts or perched on models' messy braided heads.

    When asked about the significance of the bones, Suzuki explained: "When you think about life you also think about death. It's the same thing, I think." Echoing this sentiment, the show was set to a resoundingly solemn soundtrack that included "How To Disappear Completely" by Radiohead and orchestral arrangements by Alberto Iglesias. "A black world is dangerous, so the sparkling accents represent the light, which are our hopes. I've become stronger as a designer, and I know what I want to show that now," said Suzuki.

    Misha Janette
    JC Report







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    I am very excited to see more pics from the collection. The previous red label images from last season (? cant find the thread...) were amazing. So I am very hopeful.

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    wow based on those few pics this looks sublime.

    i love this quote: "I'll paint the whole world black. Then the light will fall and caress it."

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    That quote pretty well sums it up.

    They set up a small, impromptu arena in Komazawa Olympic Park (site of the 1964 Tokyo olympics), far far away from every other fashion week event, but there was still a huge crowd that showed up. It was completely dark and there was no "runway" to speak of... very ethereal and well thought out. The setting matched the clothes perfectly.

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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Looks awesome. I think she is quickly becoming the brightest start of the new Japanese generation.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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    Welcome, guys. Will try to find more photos.

    Nice, semiotic riot, sounds like you were lucky enough to attend.

    Faust, who else would you include in that new Japanese generation? Other contemporary Japanese designers that show internationally (Jun Takahashi, Takahiro Miyashita, Kazuyuki Kumagai, Naoki Takizawa), or do you mean the 'newer' generation such as those showing at Tokyo Fashion week?

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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    I guess the ones you mentioned, along with Limi Yamamoto, and the designers behind Sacai. Basically the ones I know about, lol. What I like about her work is that it is keeping with a masterful tradition. Call me conservative, but I increasingly find what Undercover and Number Nine and others are doing very juvenile and very thematic and ultimately boring (one more reference to Kurt Cobain out of those two and you will see lots of suicide icons here). I completely understand the desire to do things your own way, and perhaps reflect your culture in your work, but does it have to result in a bunch of juvenile, low quality crap? I see the same parallel in London - the likes of Robert Carrie-Williams, Preen, Jens Laugesen, etc. not wanting to design in the shadow of Galliano and McQueen - they want something younger, perhaps less bourgeois, but it's not working. Michiko continues what Yohji does, but she makes it her own, and she does it better than Limi I think.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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    The idea of keeping with a masterful tradition of technique, quality, and attention to detail certainly appeals to me. However the word tradition in terms of styles of clothing presents a problem in itself, with the obvious youth of the Japanese fashion industry, which still seems to have a large disconnect between the modern Western ideals of clothing and traditional Japanese ideals of clothing. There are some that are trying to bridge that gap, though.
    To answer your question, and a good example of the above is Matohu, designed by Hiroyuki Horihata and Makiko Sekiguchi. They take traditional Japanese techniques (woodblocking, nishijin brocade, chirimen crepe, kodaiji makie) and distictly Japanese ideals of beauty from the 16th and 17th century, and reinvent them in the form of modern clothing. Here's a great quote from their website.
    Matohu is a Japanese concept. It has two meanings:
    The first meaning is to wear clothes in such a way that it creates an atmosphere of beauty, like the motion of wrapping your body softly, and leaving a gentle afterglow.
    The second gives the sense of restraint, allowing oneself to mature, like a fruit, slowly, and not to consume something hastily and throw it away.

    I've come to see Undercover and N(N) as being a different kettle of fish. They have very strong roots in streetwear with heavy influences from American and European musical and cultural movements. They're just doing their own thing, but I have to agree with that the inconsistent jumping from theme to theme result in hit or miss collections become tired fairly quickly.

    To get this back on topic though, I believe Michiko is the youngest of the lot (born '79 and graduated '00). She is certainly talented, and may just have enough to carry on Yohji's legacy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    I see the same parallel in London - the likes of Robert Carrie-Williams, Preen, Jens Laugesen, etc. not wanting to design in the shadow of Galliano and McQueen - they want something younger, perhaps less bourgeois, but it's not working. Michiko continues what Yohji does, but she makes it her own, and she does it better than Limi I think.
    this sums up how i see the emerging next generation of fashion designers...Undercover had some edge about 4 years ago before it went global with the womenswear shows. I think that brand has lost its identity, it went from being a kinda dark label to when i last entered their flagship, the walls were yellow and the clothes were a dissonant mix of ripped jeans and really preppy knits.

    Number (N)ine manages to save itself by producing high quality garments at the very least. I think it's a fine label that's pretty cohesive and easily incorporated into a wide range of wardrobes, if not terribly original (ignoring the random jumps from one influence to another every season).

    That said, Michiko blows pretty much any current young Japanese designer I can think of out of the water. If Yohji decides to retire and hand over the main label torch to someone, I'd feel fine knowing it is her.

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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avantster View Post
    The idea of keeping with a masterful tradition of technique, quality, and attention to detail certainly appeals to me. However the word tradition in terms of styles of clothing presents a problem in itself, with the obvious youth of the Japanese fashion industry, which still seems to have a large disconnect between the modern Western ideals of clothing and traditional Japanese ideals of clothing. There are some that are trying to bridge that gap, though.
    To answer your question, and a good example of the above is Matohu, designed by Hiroyuki Horihata and Makiko Sekiguchi. They take traditional Japanese techniques (woodblocking, nishijin brocade, chirimen crepe, kodaiji makie) and distictly Japanese ideals of beauty from the 16th and 17th century, and reinvent them in the form of modern clothing. Here's a great quote from their website.

    I've come to see Undercover and N(N) as being a different kettle of fish. They have very strong roots in streetwear with heavy influences from American and European musical and cultural movements. They're just doing their own thing, but I have to agree with that the inconsistent jumping from theme to theme result in hit or miss collections become tired fairly quickly.

    To get this back on topic though, I believe Michiko is the youngest of the lot (born '79 and graduated '00). She is certainly talented, and may just have enough to carry on Yohji's legacy.
    I did not mean Japanese dress tradition, but rather the tradition established by Yohji, Issey, and Rei - a Japanese designer fashion tradition. I guess what I was trying to say is that you don't have to necessarily rebel against the previous generation in order to be great. I know it goes against the established order of the day with regards to culture, but that's what I've been thinking lately.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    I did not mean Japanese dress tradition, but rather the tradition established by Yohji, Issey, and Rei - a Japanese designer fashion tradition. I guess what I was trying to say is that you don't have to necessarily rebel against the previous generation in order to be great. I know it goes against the established order of the day with regards to culture, but that's what I've been thinking lately.
    Ah, OK. I guess that's what I am trying to get at - what would be this Japanese fashion designer tradition i.e. what makes it specifically Japanese?
    I ask this because I've been thinking about it myself. I think this was discussed somewhere before, but would it be fair to say that the Belgians are the ones that are continuing the tradition set by Yohji, Issey, and Rei?

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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avantster View Post
    Ah, OK. I guess that's what I am trying to get at - what would be this Japanese fashion designer tradition i.e. what makes it specifically Japanese?
    I ask this because I've been thinking about it myself. I think this was discussed somewhere before, but would it be fair to say that the Belgians are the ones that are continuing the tradition set by Yohji, Issey, and Rei?
    Karlo from A said that in his interview. He sees a continuation from Yohji/Rei > Belgium > back to Japan. There is absolutely no doubt that Number (N)ine for example is influenced by Ann, and I would also argue that Takashi has had a good dose of Raf Simons in him. So, I think it is fair. But what I think is unique about the Japanese tradition (and I think John can help me out here) is that Quality (in Pirsig's sense of the word) is ingrained in their culture. I think they simply fused with the influence of the West. That is not to say that the West does not have that tradition, but it got murdered by Modernism (it's very interesting to see that Modernist art and Modernist design had completely opposite aims!), but in Japan it largely survived. And maybe that is exactly what I don't like about Undercover in Particular - it does not have that concern for Quality anymore. Anyway, that's my theory - could be completely bogus though!
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    Karlo from A said that in his interview. He sees a continuation from Yohji/Rei > Belgium > back to Japan. There is absolutely no doubt that Number (N)ine for example is influenced by Ann, and I would also argue that Takashi has had a good dose of Raf Simons in him. So, I think it is fair. But what I think is unique about the Japanese tradition (and I think John can help me out here) is that Quality (in Pirsig's sense of the word) is ingrained in their culture. I think they simply fused with the influence of the West. That is not to say that the West does not have that tradition, but it got murdered by Modernism (it's very interesting to see that Modernist art and Modernist design had completely opposite aims!), but in Japan it largely survived. And maybe that is exactly what I don't like about Undercover in Particular - it does not have that concern for Quality anymore. Anyway, that's my theory - could be completely bogus though!
    This is evident in Yohji's pieces (and prices). Undercover continues to have some winners, though. For example, last winter's knits and some of the coats were great.

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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    To be sure, sbw, I am not completely writing neither N(N) or Undercover (nor Julius, etc.) off - there will always be gems here and there (hell, I surprised myself by buying a piece of N(N) from each of the two previous collections!) - I am talking more in line of their aesthetic. And I do think it's more of an aesthetical gesture with regards to quality, or at least is masked as such. Remember, We Make Noise, not Clothes.
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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Avantster, maybe more hints in the Miyashita profile here.

    "‘‘What sets us apart from older Japanese designers like Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto is that we are much more influenced by youth culture and, especially, music,’’ says Jun Takahashi, Miyashita’s close friend. He’s right: while their predecessors have traditionally focused on intellectual experiments with texture and shape, these new designers have an innate understanding of global street trends. "
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    Karlo from A said that in his interview. He sees a continuation from Yohji/Rei > Belgium > back to Japan. There is absolutely no doubt that Number (N)ine for example is influenced by Ann, and I would also argue that Takashi has had a good dose of Raf Simons in him. So, I think it is fair. But what I think is unique about the Japanese tradition (and I think John can help me out here) is that Quality (in Pirsig's sense of the word) is ingrained in their culture. I think they simply fused with the influence of the West. That is not to say that the West does not have that tradition, but it got murdered by Modernism (it's very interesting to see that Modernist art and Modernist design had completely opposite aims!), but in Japan it largely survived. And maybe that is exactly what I don't like about Undercover in Particular - it does not have that concern for Quality anymore. Anyway, that's my theory - could be completely bogus though!
    Ah yes, that's right. I was sure I read it somewhere.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. OK, that's it, I need to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I've had it on my to-read list for a while, this has given me the push to just go and order it right now! (Is Lila: An Inquiry into Morals worth reading, too?)
    Something tells me there is probably a specific Japanese term that articulates that sense of Quality you are talking about.

    Thanks for pointing me the Miyashita article. The thing is that they are heavily influenced by distinctly non-Japanese youth culture and music. And if they, as you say, have lost that concern for Quality, I wonder if they are really carrying on that Japanese fashion designer tradition (Apart from them obviously being Japanese).

    Another quote from the same article here.
    "All my work, whether it’s in fashion or music, is about rebellion and not being conventional.’’
    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    I guess what I was trying to say is that you don't have to necessarily rebel against the previous generation in order to be great.
    Hmm, I will think about this more.

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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Lila is a very hard read - ZAMM is much more accessible. I agree about Miyashita and Takahashi - they are the Murakamis of Japanese fashion.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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