japan fashion week: ritsuko shirahama

(images via mbfwj)

so! we don’t often announce new names (at least, that i can think of right now) in our coverage of tokyo’s japan fashion week, but after taking a good three years off the catwalks, designer ritsuko shirahama (リツコシラハマ) was finally back on the official schedule for the a/w 2013 season, presenting, according to the mbfwj site, at the shibuya hikarie hall a.

and, as you can imagine, all i really needed to see were those huge mad hatter toppers (kind of like what marc jacobs showed during his a/w 2012 presentation, actually), and i was basically sold. of course, the clothes in all of their eclectic colour and layer and print pulled things together to complete the picture, but i’m definitely going to argue here that the headpieces were what made the initial contact, you know?

but i digress, and anyway, i suppose i should be giving some background details here. right then, so as you can also here imagine given my predilection for all things carnival and circus, upon learning, courtesy of the japanese site fashion snap, that the designer titled her range ‘rock and roll circus,’ i was ready to die and go to my happy place. of course, this has more to do with the 1968 rolling stones album of the same name, but then, i’m going to pretend it’s functioning somewhere around where my mind goes.

alors. according to the japanese site apparel-web, the designer was indeed drawing on ideas derived from the album, with various sixties references present (though i think we can agree there’s a performance art quality here, as well), and they pointed to, among other ideas, the graphic geometric prints (and the zebra stripes), the leather, colours, a-line skirts, and mini skirts (and here i think we can add the stovepipe trousers, as well) all as evidence of themes drawn from the era.

to this notion, in a surprisingly short review this time ’round, the excellent japanese site fashion press reflected that the designer meant the range as a kind of salve to recent economic troubles (perhaps reminding us of the prosperity of the sixties–at least a cultural one, which i think we can all agree on, if nothing else), noting that the show (trans.) “expressed the innocence and playfulness of the time,” i guess reminding us that things can look up again, even after the quagmires of war and such.

on the whole, i’d tend to say the pieces were quite wearable, and it was the styling that sometimes made them appear a little outlandish or unapproachable, but i understand that the amalgamation of several prints and a rainbow of colours, or layers upon layers of ruffles, or a giant faux fur fuzzy teddy bear-like tophat maybe aren’t going to make each and every girl scream. but then, this is the fun of jfw, non? and really, i must say, i’m so glad to see ms. shirahama back on the catwalks. i can’t wait to see what she’ll issue next time ’round (check out some additional runway images at japanese streets).

(watch the complete fashion show video here)

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