Christian Dior’s creative director Raf Simons staged the label’s Pre-Fall show in Tokyo for the first time, celebrating the French fashion house’s history and fascination with Japan, and signalling its direction for expansion in the country.
Selected journalists such as British blogger Susie Bubble were flown in specially to attend the large-scale Esprit Dior Tokyo show, alongside younger, more obscure members of Tokyo’s cultural clans (Shibuya and Harajuku kids) who hold cachet in the capital’s diverse fashion scene.
The decidedly science fiction-inspired show (think Blade Runner soundtrack and soft, artificial snow falling eerily through a brutalist grid ceiling) stepped away from clichéd Japanese fashion signifiers such as Kimonos in favour of a modern Japanese youth culture aesthetic.
Short plaid pinafore dresses teamed with second-skin sequined turtlenecks gave a futuristic edge to a Tokyo street-style favourite, while the classic Bar shape (think Dior’s iconic ‘New Look’ silhouette with a strong emphasis on the waist) was reinvested on jackets and dresses for a new generation of Dior consumer. Knee-length leather boots were a highlight with a unique platform heel, as were the sequined fair-isle knits. Period silhouettes also borrowed from Dior’s A/W 14-15 Couture collection.
Make-up and hairstyling was similarly sci-fi, with slick Princess Leia braids framing pale, natural faces. A nod to manga design came in the form of thick black rectangular blocks painted above and below the pupils to exaggerate the eyes. Stylist Peter Philips called the finished look “electric kabuki”.
The freedom of styles, the new architecture of clothing that you can see forming in the street as well as in the city’s fashion design history… [Tokyo is] a place that is both extreme and exhilarating.
Although consumer insight reports sounding the death knell for luxury are increasing as Asian consumer enthusiasm dampens (see FT.com), Dior’s chief executive Sidney Toledano urged show-goers to ignore Japan’s recent entry into a recession, highlighting its strength as a market instead. “Why Tokyo? We think Japan is a key country for luxury and fashion,” he said.