(images via mbfwj)
as i’ve said often enough in the past (see a/w 2011, a/w 2012, s/s 2013), designer norio surikabe’s house of support surface (サポートサーフェス) has never been particularly about re-writing the rules of fashion, or trying to impress us with his utter innovation, especially as compared to a lot of the other japanese ateliers we see presenting their wares at tokyo’s japan fashion week. but it doesn’t need to be, and that’s because, as i too often enough say, we need more clothes that are just about, like, refined dressing.
right, then. so, staging the latest exhibition, for the a/w 2013 season at tokyo’s nihonbashi mitsui hall, the designer’s concept was about ‘sparkling,’ with the japanese site fashion snap relaying that the range was titled ‘to form the glitter,’ (or something to that effect), and with the pieces meant to convey some varying type of shine, whether it be from nature or, i suppose, through artificial means.
further (and perhaps better) clarifying the concept was the japanese website apparel web, which explained that the clothes were meant to emit (trans.) “elegance with a sense of transparency,” while adding that the notion of sparkling came through such ideas as “a smooth water surface that reflects light giving off a spreading sparkling texture.” honestly, i was rather surprised, then, given the theme, that we didn’t see a little more flash, but then, japanese fashion tends to be a lot headier than some of its western counterparts.
anyway, what that meant in practice, as always chez support surface, was a lot of delightful staples, and the site went on to describe the requisite items, such as smart tailored coats and cropped trousers, adding that the range was (again, trans.) “painted in natural colours reminiscent of a mysterious forest,” with a lot of earthenware grays and browns balanced out by some terracotta, burgundy, and coral, as well as a handful of differing blues (ranging from teal to wedgewood blue to navy and a lovely pool hue).
the collection’s materials included plenty of knitwear, double-faced wool, leather, cotton, silk, lace, and feathers, and in the designer’s typical manner, the excellent japanese site fashion press explained that even these were quite well thought-out, with the texitles (trans.) “pursuing functional lightness but some, such as the knits, for compression and warmth.”
yet one of the things i really liked about the range was the manner in which all of the clothes seemed essentially appropriate for the season (particularly as we’ve in the past half-decade or so moved into a space where fashion seasons mean basically nothing but a guideline) yet without an intense weight to them–instead, even the heavier wool items such as trenches, or the sweaters, had a cozy feeling about them, more cocoon-like and soft than something to pull one down.
as ever, too, the pieces seemed functionally appropriate for basically all age ranges (with a few exceptions, of course), and save for maybe a few of the lighter, flippier skirts, one could envision varying body types or ages wrapping themselves in the smart little collarless coats and jackets, the minimalist-leaning monochromatic dresses featuring some ruching detail at the bodice, or those wear-everywhere librarian-esque high-waisted a-line skirts.
perhaps my favourite look, though, was that high-waisted illusion-style gray pencil skirt with the side panels coloured in rust, and the gorgeous matching blouse, with its arc of flowers curving just above the bust and under the raglan sleeves, from which some lovely ruching detailing descended. that number (maybe not the skirt, as much, which might have its limits) felt both youthful and sophisticated at once, and i honestly when thinking can’t imagine a woman’s wardrobe that wouldn’t be improved by it, personal style/age/weight/race/any other variable aside. and that’s a brilliant feat, non?
(check out the full fashion show video here)