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Japan Fashion Week

Collection Reveals the True Face of Tokyo


Numerous fashion brands exhibited their latest styles.

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Held twice a year in the Japanese capital, Japan Fashion Week is almost as popular as the four major shows of the fashion world: Paris, Milan, New York, and London. Japan Fashion Week is a ten-day event that aims to enhance the global competitiveness of the Japanese fashion industry and to introduce high-quality Japanese materials and creations to the rest of the world.

The eleventh Japan Fashion Week took place from October 15 to 24, 2010 at Tokyo Midtown and Yoyogi National Stadium. The Tokyo Collection featured almost 40 labels, presenting their latest collections for spring and summer 2011.

The Internet ConnectionShows by 12 fashion houses were aired online, with an estimated 21,000 people tuning in. Many of them uploaded their impressions via the online video channel or Twitter. This ability to watch the shows live and leave comments was key to generating interest in the Tokyo Collection and participating brands.


The Shida Tatsuya brand fashion show. (C)Shida Tatsuya

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The matohu brand fashion show. (C)matohu

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Trends in the Summer and Spring 2011 CollectionsFive main tendencies were discernable in the styles unveiled at this year’s Tokyo Collection. The first was designs expressing contemporary Tokyo street style: a bright, casual, relaxed take on a look still built on a sporty or preppy tone. This look was in evidence in many of the designs by such brands as PHENOMENON, ato, and TROVE.

The second trend was for fantastical styles, marked by a coquettish, poetic air, often featuring items that used distinctive prints, lace, or frills and united by a soft and gentle color scheme. Outfits from the Keita Maruyama and Shida Tatsuya labels were illustrative of this trend. 

The third was what has been called the “elegance style.” Typifying this approach were elegant creations by the Yukiko Hanai and Miss Ashida labels using silky materials, three-dimensional forms, and luxurious floral prints to create an air of feminine refinement and sophistication.

The fourth trend was a move toward traditional Japanese colors and materials, as evident in the designs of the araisara and matohu brands. These used traditional dyeing techniques and color schemes, with materials layered to create beautiful color gradations. The delicate designs of Somarta, based on the idea of the world under the microscope and making skilful use of high-tech fabrics and traditional technology, also caught the eye.

The fifth could be described as a fusion between fashion and art. Theatre Products, HISUI, and other brands staged dramatic performances that made audiences feel they were watching a play. There were also installation-style presentations, adding entertainment value to the show and expressing the distinctive worldview of the brand.


Theatre Products brand fashion show. (C)Theatre Products

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The Allure of Japanese FashionRunning through all the creations presented during the course of the Tokyo Collection—light and casual, cute and coquettish, or transparent and airy—was a vivid sense of the breath and pulse of the city. The work of many designers was marked by refinement and precision, both in terms of cut and in their use of materials.

Unlike the pieces on show in Paris and Milan, which are driven above all by an overriding concern for the latest trends, and New York, where marketing concerns exert a strong influence, Japanese designers are able to filter the atmosphere of the times through their own sensibility. The combination of these simple yet powerful designs with the carefree sensibilities of young people’s street fashions are what makes Japanese fashion so alluring. (January 2011)

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