The Sretsis runway show, which opened this season’s Tokyo Fashion Week, was my first fashion show in Japan. The invitation came in the post. It arrived in a black envelope, colorful creatures and floral designs printed on the black card inside, one half cut-out to give a forest-like atmosphere. ‘Enter the mythical “Sretsis Labyrinth”‘ it promised.


The day the invitation came, I’d been out looking for something to fulfill the roses and castles obsession, finally settling upon an embroidered hoodie. When I got home, it was there on the table waiting to be opened. Seeing all those flowers printed onto the black card was an instant blood-to-the-head rush. It must be fate, right?

Fate is a bit of a theme in fashion this season if you look at it from that angle. Especially in Paris. There were games machines at Givenchy. When you order from a menu you’re directing fate: Brasserie Gabrielle at Chanel. Yohji Yamamoto’s asymmetrical eye make-up and hairstyles (straight lines, a sense of purpose) the flow or unflow of the clothes hinted at Greek Muses. Several designers took controlled-yet-wild into designs.

‘Traditional usage defines fate as a power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events,’ describes Wikipedia. Fate –a master of the order of events– has its connection to success, which is how we describe a favourable sequence of events. Perhaps we’re becoming more autonomous, self-governing and active as humans in our collective psyche. There was something a little ‘power-dressing’ about this season (especially Paris). Fate had me buy floral embroidery to wear during the course of events at Shibuya Hikarie. Fate, fate, fate.

More or less all of fashion week in Tokyo takes place in a skyscraper called Hikarie near Shibuya station. Exit 15 will take you directly inside when you emerge. Fashion week takes place on the 9th floor. When it’s not fashion week, there are exhibitions and theatre productions going on. The public can go up as far as the 11th floor to relax with the spectacular view of the neon skyline. The first few floors are all department stores and then there are restaurants and cafes, which thin out as the exhibition and theatre space appears.

Once inside room A, the level of anticipation began to grow. Excitement murmured through the crowd like a fish being chased through coral. The audience were seated along one wall. In the blackened room before us, something glowed in the dark like phosphorescence, it seemed to throb. This was it: Tokyo Fashion Week. When the lights and music came on, the zig-zagging runway with brightly colored flowerbeds was enchanting like a picnic. Where was Little Red Riding Hood?

Oh look! Dressed in a teddy bear coat, wearing bears on her boots!
What I imagine a dragon-slayer might look like.


Embroidered flowers ruled the day. Hair was loose and wavy, bouncy, glossy. Make-up kept natural with rosyish cheeks. Hemlines were high. V-shaped fringing along the collar had a country and western edge to it. Faux furĀ fabric in brown, pink and grey appeared.


Every now and again a model had something furry flung over her shoulder. Were they ears? They certainly were. With bejewelled eyes and noses, they twinkled under the bright lights. To wear those furry faces would be to have stepped out of a fantasy movie. Two children modelled the hoods. They came out behind a coated woman who walked without paying them any attention whatsoever. It gave a sense of fate to the show. Trust the universe and it will guide you–you don’t need anyone to hold your hand. The path from the labyrinth will become clear.

In the picture below, can you spot the mythical creature from the invitation? ‘Ponder life’s greater mysteries,’ it said. Perpetual Spring, for instance, draws attention to the changing of the seasons. Why do we have seasons in fashion these days anyway? In some parts of the world you’re in shorts in November and in others a need for winter coats arises in July. If I put my woollens away for a few months respite, you know it’s going to rain all summer. Who switches wardrobes with turns in the weather? It’s like getting dressed up especially to meet your husband as he wipes his feet on the ‘welcome’ door mat when he arrives home from the office. Somebody must still do that. Somebody somewhere.


At the end, the hemlines lengthened, sparkling animal face hood were worn on heads with to-the-floor dresses. Fabric flounced and billowed beneath a dashing of confetti. It was magnificent to be there. It was a very different experience to looking at pictures in magazines or online. Sretsis (Sisters spelled backwards) was a great induction to the deep end of writing about fashion, to the ‘being there’ that can only be appreciated by being there, to the fashion industry in Japan.

PHOTOGRAPHS (except the one taken myself of the invitation!) COURTESY OF MERCEDES-BENZ FASHION WEEK TOKYO.