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The Top Three Collections of Japan's (Abridged) Fashion Week

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Racked's Tokyo correspondent Misha Janette reviews the top three collections at Japan Fashion Week.

Akiba idol performs at Mikio Sakabe

Mikio Sakabe: Sakabe is a member of the “Akiba” movement, which is a troupe of people who are proud of their affinity to anime and manga culture, and he always includes references to it into his collections. This time the clothing itself was extremely somber, with a mix of grungy details like wet, stringy hair and oversized T-shirts with Christmas prints on them, mixed with 70s-style embroidered suits. We weren’t prepared for what Sakabe had in store for us after the show was over however, which turned out to be a mini-concert of five Akiba idols dressed in hyper-realistic anime costumes with choreographed gestures provided by a gaggle of wildly enthusiastic “otaku” (geek) fans. It was a window into another underground Tokyo subculture—one of many—that is being experimented with in fashion. It was a rollercoaster-like show, and a fitting one for a rollercoaster-like season.

Mintdesigns: This brand is a regular on the Tokyo catwalks, and it attracts a crowd that prefers a loose, baggy silhouette contrasted with quirky prints. The theme this season was called “Fashion Surgery," alluding to the cosmetic changes that the designers made to their experimental jacquard textiles—they turned them inside out, snipped off the excess weave, and used steam to puff up the edges, creating a texture that looked like frosting. The real icing on the cake here though, was the headpieces made of battery-operated light tubes that elicited one of the longest applauses at a Tokyo fashion show when the lights were turned down for the finale. Tokyo is on energy-watch now, so it was both fashionably innovative and symbolic at the same time.

Anrealage: The first model out on the high runway culled the audience to the edge of their seats for a closer look at the colorful little pumps with “pixel” heels that looked like 3D Tetris blocks. The theme here was “low," and it referred to low-resolution computer graphics, dropping pixelated floral, plaid and polka-dot prints onto the clothing. Anrealage also stacked layers of laser-cut reflective material on itself to create a 3D-like textile with a kicky 8-bit feel. This collection was definitely the Trojan horse of the season.
· All Tokyo coverage [Racked]