Going Japanese

Ever since the most recent earthquake that hit Japan, people started paying attention to the small but proud country. They showed composure and dignity at a time when others would have crumbled – which is probably why even their fashion sense shows a sense of individuality that many designers covet. Being touted as one of Asia’s most fashionable countries, Japan’s fashion sensibilities are going global.

Kimono-inspired ensembles, judo and obi belts, and even platform shoes reminiscent of Japanese slippers now litter the designers’ recent collections. This season’s Asian roots are starting to show, and they all point to a nostalgic understanding of what lies in the East.

Celine shows sheer brilliance in mixing different textures in a clean monotone ensemble. See-through fabrics make the outfits less “martial arts” and more “laid back femininity”.

Celine S/S 2011

Issey Miyake, refusing to be trounced, prefers to soften the strong, judo-based top with soft, draped bottoms.

Haider Ackermann sees something more promising in the Japanese outfit. His fashion palette is an artful oxymoron, boasting of strong hues combined with soft pastels. His love for contradictions also shows in rock chick laceups seen side by side with saccharine, ladylike pleats. His rendition of the obi belt is almost suggestive of origami, another homage to the Japanese.

Alexander Wang is not to be left behind. He stays true to the judo belt, opting instead to update the look by giving it modern touch ups, such as sizeable pockets.

Modern Japan shows so much more than their old fashion heritage when they don their street wear. But people love them for their iconic Japanese attires nonetheless. Perhaps the geisha appeal persists in everyone’s minds, or maybe anime has finally made its mark in the fashion culture. Whatever the reason, Japanese inspirations are becoming more and more pervasive. Their silent style is making a lot of noise in the fashion world – and we can’t help but listen.


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