japan fashion week: hiroko koshino

(images via mbfwj)

even though our discussions always seem to last for daaaaays at a time, we always have such a grand time (see s/s 2011, a/w 2012, s/s 2013) checking out the latest hiroko koshino (ヒロコ コシノ) collections, you know? they’re colourful and wonderful, wearable and challenging, basically leading up to everything i want in a japanese designer, all impeccably executed.

so. where, then, did that leave us for the a/w 2013 season, as the designer presented her wares at japan fashion week? the blog paint with stars explained that the “show took place at The Garden Hall in the beautiful Ebisu Garden Place,” and it was a nice setting for the designer’s work, which as per the norm took the path of black-and-white graphics spliced with the kind of bold colours that will forever have me thinking of tropical fish (and the designer’s tour through that very subject last season).

well. this time around, ms. koshino titled her range ‘floral memories,’ and we were lucky enough to get a rather detailed analysis from an english-language site (no less!) courtesy of reuters, which explained that the show “featured flowers and combined her characteristic look of draped and folded fabrics recalling traditional kimonos and centuries-old textile patterns with accents of sequins and pink.”

prattling on, they quoted the designer as stating that “I wanted to consider what’s beautiful in the world, and that’s flowers. My version of flowers isn’t romantic but rather a vision of art. I wanted to give the clothing the suggestion of flower buds swelling, draping and rounded at the shoulders…It’s always Asian with me. This is an idiosyncrasy of mine. But I try for a new fusion of East and West.”

and finally, the site itself editorialised that “(s)hort, sheath-like dresses in bright colors were paired with quilting, leather and touches of fur. She accentuated loose gray dresses with elbow-length leather gloves and epaulets,” while the japanese site apparel-web made the interesting point that, with all the darks and shadows (trans.), “(y)ou get the impression that…it seems to represent the flower exposed to the freezing winter wind.”

in other words, i guess we could say in some sense this was a more somber turn for ms. koshino, but i almost hate to use that term because, like, c’mon. but! there was something darker underlying the message, with fashion press perhaps summing it up the best in their comment that (trans.) “(a) big flower was the decoration [for the first dresses, depicted on the front], the one piece silhouette unhurried and colourful. But as time ticks away, the flower loses its shape, colour, lost its vividness.”

this gradual change, slowly moving over time, they opined (again, trans.), “makes you feel the fragility of flowers,” and i guess we’re supposed to understand that, for all their beauty, there’s a sadness to the ephemeral quality of these delicate blossoms, with the show perhaps serving as a kind of vanitas performance piece.

yet for all of this, i don’t want you to think the clothes were overly sad, or that they were too dark for most kids not, like, goths to be interested in. they weren’t, and if you’re a hiroko koshino fan and want to drape yourself in colour this season, that can work as well. it was just that there was a mix, but that’s something i’ve really come to love about this designer, and i don’t think it’s often that the macabre kids and the hippies among us can tend to agree on a collection, and honestly, i’m still not sure that’s happening here, but i’ll put it like this: if one were to ever get close, i think ms. koshino has taken the best shot at the notion. and that’s really something, you know? (see additional runway imagery at fashion snap & japanese streets)


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