International Herald Tribune‘s Suzy Menkes, who was invited to speak at a symposium titled "Cool Japan"), highly regarded labels like Green, Mister Hollywood,
and Triptych saw no disadvantage in showing the following week. While the backbone of the JFW schedule comes from veteran
designers including Hiroko Koshino, Jun Ashida, and Yuki Torii, most of the presenters were small labels showing streetwear collections.
The season’s strongest showing came from ultra-hot menswear label N.Hoolywood (the N is borrowed from North Hollywood, where
designer Daisuke Obana, formerly a vintage buyer, has an office; Hoolywood is an amalgam of hooligan and Hollywood). The brand
is popularly referred to as Mister Hollywood, the nickname Obana was given by American vintage vendors, who remembered him
for his upscale address, and also the name of his impressive three-story store in Tokyo’s plush Aoyama district. Obana cuts
a mean suit, and for this collection he mixed minimal tailoring with uniform-inspired pieces, including parkas with drawstrings
well below the waist.
Another much-hyped label is Green, which presented an almost all-black collection titled "Two Edwardians." Tuxedo-style jackets,
frock coats, floor-length skirts, and trench coats buttoned up to the chin were among the looks the boy-girl pair behind the
brand chose to show to the sounds of the Smiths.
Having previously avoided the use of color, G.V.G.V. designer Mug shocked onlookers by showing girly styles in floral prints last season. This time, she followed up on that radical
departure with leopard and polka-dot prints.
JFW foremost darling Toshikazu Iwaya, whose Dress Camp label — with its kaleidoscopic color stories, animal prints, and Swarovski slogans — gives the middle finger to the generally dour Tokyo fashion establishment. This season’s show was offensive as
ever, with voluminous styles, corsetry, and millinery that looked just a little bit too much like John Galliano.
Veteran husband and wife duo Patrick Ryan and Mami Yoshida, both graduates of London’s Central Saint Martins, reprised some of the most successful looks from their nine years behind the Yab Yum label. Besides earning plaudits from Japanese fashion editors, this collection was the only one to get more than a cursory
mention from IHT fashion editor Suzy Menkes.
Another Central Saint Martins graduate, menswear designer Taishi Nobukuni, showed a collection of ethnic looks influenced by Inuit culture and central Asian costumes. The show was distinguished by runway appearances by several dogs, a baby goat, and a
Among several disappointments this season was the JFW debut of the Ylang Ylang brand, whose designer Ryunosuke Aoyanagi had an unsuccessful crack at elegant ’60s couture-inspired looks. After the parade
of Catherine Deneuve-inspired ensembles, the runway was left scattered with marabou feathers and lined with po-faced editors.
Also somewhat disappointing was the debut of the Mercibeaucoup label, headed up by Eri Utsugi, formerly of Frapbois (which she helped build into a brand with 16 directly managed points of sale across Japan). To back her new venture, Utsugi
chose A-Net, the company founded by Issey Miyake which operates several successful brands, such as Zucca, Tsumori Chisato, Final Home, and Sunao Kuwahara. Utsugi went slightly over the top with this show, showing her crazy clothes on models with funny face paint and huge Afro
wigs cut into animal shapes, who wielded brooms across a confetti-covered runway.
Other notable collections included Limi Feu, designed by Limi Yamamoto, daughter of Yohji; Triptych, the label run by boutique chain WR; Diet Butcher Slim Skin, proponents
of dark punk wackiness; and John Lawrence Sullivan, a menswear brand designed by a former Japanese boxing champ.
N. Hoolywood a/w ’06-’07
Green a/w ’06-’07
G.V.G.V. a/w ’06-’07
Yab Yum a/w ’06-’07
Triptych a/w ’06-’07
mercibeaucoup a/w ’06-’07