Bortsprungt is one of those Tokyo brands that is like a serial killer on Valium. Dark but calm, manipulating in it’s sweet and kind candor…but there is a twist that lies deep within. Think pinstripes that disguise patterns of marching ants, skirts that double as dinner tables, and splatters of blood….I mean, jam, that sparkle under the light.
The brand is still underground but is not new in the least. It was established in 2008 as the pet project of a duo of forces in the Japanese creative world, stylist YU-YA and art director Nagi Noda. As many already know, Noda has since passed away in a horrible loss for the industry, but not before she planted the seeds of a new kind of fashion brand. She started with “Broken Label” with YU-YA and collaborated with sweet-gothic-gore-artist Mark Ryden and made it a huge success in Colette in Paris. But for the non-insane customer it was a hard pill to swallow so she and YU-YA created Bortsprungt as a more accessible and a less sinister alternative.
The brand concept meddles in fairytales which are written into the whimsical prints on their original textiles. YU-YA writes stories and fairytales that correspond to each collection that are abstract enough to make the Grimm brothers proud. And because of the fairytale theme, there is a focus on Northern European culture and motifs, like gingham, trees, and animals like bears, elk, and wolves.
Perception is also a characterisic of the artwork and presentation of the brand. Look at the skull logo…do you spot the parade of animals through the forest? And the shows! They don’t have them very often, but they are always a treat. The last one I witnessed had a long stage of antique furniture piled up on it. When the lights dimmed, the runway suddenly split in half… furniture and all! The models then walked through the middle of the heap of perfectly sawed paraphernalia.
It’s part of a trend of dark fairytale brands that pull upon gothicism, forest girl fixings and kitsch. See Ahcahcum Muchacha too for a similar vibe—!
For the 2012 aw collection, the theme is Jam. Here is the opening poem:
As a spoonful of jam falls from a very high place
sometimes it shimmers like a ruby
sometimes it looks like blood. And sometimes it is a dark red shadow like wine.
It changes into many things as it falls, falls down.
Then it hits the ground. That’s when it looked the most sweet and delicious.
Silicone spots of dripping “jam” cover the simple dresses, skirts, and classic blouses. The pockets and sleeves are in the shape of a 3D wolf… a little Red Riding hood wolf trying to sneak a snack from her picnic basket? The other motif is one of a birdcage in flocked velvet and organdy with a faded print of a bird on another layer of fabric inside.
As for it being in my wardrobe…..not yet. I love the concept to pieces but I have an aversion to pale, neutral colors and loose silhouettes. They usually make some really great tights though so I`m looking out for them—Bortsprungt (pronounced like “bosch-prumet”) is available at a number of boutiques around the country but most notably at zozotown