Could you imagine a woman who glows like a jellyfish, smells like fresh roses, and emits human pheromones?
“Transflora Amy’s Silk”, Jellyfish DNA silk by Gucci and Sputniko revealed in Tokyo yesterday is the attempt to make that a reality in clothing through biotechnology .
Seen most often in self-professed “otaku” (geek) designer collections in Tokyo, digital pop-collages are a huge thing. Avatars, pixels, characters, eyeballs, cosplay, pop-objects and analog media motifs are often plastered together in a way that purposely looks like a job done on MS Paint.
So what an incredibly unexpected surprise to see Paris’ adopted grandfather Yohji Yamamoto who is known for his blacker-than-a-black-hole clothes dipping into the same psychotropic Akihabara-inspired fashion..!
Monks famously asked philosophical questions about trees in an empty forest and one hand clapping. How about this: can a person die if they never existed *as we do*? It was the question of the day at the opera for “The END”.
When Louis Vuitton announced that they were lending designs for idol Miku Hatsune, it drew incredible attention from the industry. That’s because Miku is a so-called “vocaloid”, a computer-generated character and voice that sings and talks but doesn’t actually exist in tangible form. She has tons (TONS) of fans for sure, and even fills the Tokyo Dome when she has concerts (as a hologram, of course) but what was getting cooked up between her and LV to warrant such a collabo? The occasion was actually for this high-tech visual opera called “The END” that is starring Miku, so she needed some especially cool duds for it and LV was happy to oblige. In fact, they didn’t just “lend” the character clothes , Louis Vuitton designer Marc Jacobs and his design team made her special items based on the checkerboard Damier prints that starred in the SS 2013 collection. The graphical cubes and stripes lent VERY well to the 3D character and her world.
So that was that, and I REALLY wanted to see the opera. So I was ecstatic when LV said they were having a press preview and reception celebrating the Tokyo showing of the opera and they invited me to see it. WHAT would an opera with Miku Hatsune be about? Well, with a title like “The END”, it didn’t come as a surprise that the premise was about death. In it, Miku contemplates death, what it is, what it means to be dead, and whether it was OK.
It. Was. Hard. CORE.
As an art piece, it was utterly fascinating with jaw-dropping visuals, techno sounds and next-level sensory jams. As a story-driven narrative though, don’t expect a Disney happy ending. Let’s just say I will never trust another bunny robot I come across.
So after the opera we all shuffled upstairs and enjoyed a great reception MCed by artist Sputniko! and we nibbled on food that us question our existence. Louis Vuitton has always been into boundary-pushing art (ie Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince) and this is no different. It reminded me of their Espace gallery above the Omotesando store and makes me want to go visit there again to see what other modern art they are pushing to the forefront.
Balmung (pronounced like “BALLOON” but with an “M”) has come a long way from making oversized puffed-up space-suit fashion jams to making…..BETTER puffy spacey fashion jams. All for earth-people, of course. He is quite adept at stitching together odd materials to create large silhouettes in cartoonish balance. I think about a post-apocalyptic anti-gravity Karaoke box where you wear Balmung, singing “Talking Heads” and bouncing off the walls.
Actually, Balmung designer “Hachi” may have had something like that in mind, like a pop-laced post-apocalyptic Tokyo for his new collection, “Tokyo Trash”. It is carefully constructed with clear trash bag plastic, like the big “Tokyo Ward” ones seen lining the streets on trash pickup day. He pleats and ruffles the plastic on jacket sleeves and the body of tops over sweatshirt material, like an overlay. He then pieces it together with stiff metallic vinyl and grey mesh fabric.
He used pastel pink, purple and blue fur as piping accents, so that it stood up like some exotic prehistoric crazy animal…or troll doll.
And while it seems chaotic, the video produced for ir is somber and dark (below). A very pretty “hikikomori” boy in his “trash” balmung jacket curled up like a cocoon in a bedroom piled with garbage and lit only by low neon pink lights. It’s very androgynous, a style that Hachi really excels at since his clothes are often genderless and his customers come from both sexes.
I got a piece, and I would have picked out more but the “swish swish swish” sound the trash bag material makes would have made it difficult for me to scare someone from behind, or enter and leave a room without being the center of attention. But as a new arena of fashion, I can’t pass it up when it’s in front of me, ready for the taking.