This promised to be a great show as it’s a label that gets a good share of publicity in Tokyo. To be fair, while nothing about it was revolutionary, I need some new work clothes and DressedUndressed will be on the hit list.
In fact, the whole ‘work’ look might something that I start doing outside of work. Way back in 1999, I bought a duck-egg blue skirt suit, plus a cream skirt suit like the one below. The shoulders are more pronounced and angular in the contemporary version.
When I started to wear suits (for no real reason) in 1999, it was because there was a very structured side to my personality that I wanted to explore. I felt wild and unkempt. My life was out of control. I needed some sort of order, organisation and purpose happening instantaneously. This could be achieved easily through wearing a suit. This was why wearing a suit was appealing. There were occasions when it was inappropriate (hanging out in a railway viaduct comes to mind). These were the most fun!
As a child, the thought of painting while wearing something as expensive and luxurious as an Armani suit – paint splattering on it, not caring – was extraordinary and exciting. Jean-Michel Basquiat was my hero!
Some looks reminded me of Shoreditch a while back.
Long live the bomber jacket! Japan is alleged to lead the way in fashion. When I arrived, the style of the moment was slightly watered down and maybe influenced by the London scene. Maybe vice versa. I don’t travel between the two much so how can I say. (How much of it was inspired by Topshop is yet to be unveiled. What are we going to do without Topshop? Topshop online?) Big beards weren’t so common in Tokyo anyway. The fisherman look didn’t export well to humid Asia from what I could gather. The bomber jacket is still with us though, flying the flag of underground dance parties the world over, bombing its way into our lives.
One thing counter to Japanese culture that DressedUndressed embraces is androgyny. In England, androgyny is more than being a mixture of masculine and feminine: it’s a resistance to being labelled. That ambiguity is central to the appeal of androgyny. Seeking ambiguity extends further than the masculine/feminine binary. It’s an unwillingness to put oneself and one’s art into a box, a contempt for labeling in a rigid, fixed way where meaning is ascribed by the label and it’s connotations. It’s not typically Japanese to look more closely at each instance and what each instance represents. It’s not typically English either. Though it is typical to androgyny or breaking beyond binary boundaries.
It’s interesting that many attendees of fashion week arrive in formal suits. In general, this reflects the Japanese work ethic. At one end of the spectrum, some professionals attending the show would feel undressed in anything less than a suit (at the other, there were those under-dressed for popping to the supermarket). I was looking at the business attired (in another show to this one) imagining their morning, fresh out of the shower, stood in front of a wardrobe full of suits trying to decide upon one to choose. Of course, the styling of DressedUndressed appealed to this sentiment, though ironically there were a few more baseball caps in the crowd.
The collection at DressedUndressed emanated purpose, enhanced by the unready, damp hair that gave me a similar feeling to watching girls put on their make up on the way work. People don’t tend to do that in Tokyo, thankfully. They’re too conscientious. They don’t even talk on the train for fear of influencing the lives of strangers. Strangers are in high regard. Never mind disregarding the anonymous other entirely and putting a ‘real’ face on in public. The day starts when they get up/ leave the house, rather than when they arrive at the office. Girls in Tokyo get up five minutes earlier in order to look dressed. DressedUndressed: what a way.
ALL PICTURES TAKEN FROM MERCEDES BENZ FASHION WEEK TOKYO