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Show Report

Show Report: Undercover A/W 17 Womenswear

by Lucy Norris on 4 March 2017

Lucy Norris reports on the Undercover A/W 17 show.

Lucy Norris reports on the Undercover A/W 17 show.

People definitely cried at this show. Hands were seen wiping faces. There's no shame in it. I once shed a tear at a Meadham Kirchhoff show - the one when the baby ballerinas came out and danced to the Edward Scissorhands film score. When music, dance and fantastical fashion comes together, it is no longer a presenting of clothes - it is a performance. Fashion was a sort of costume here today - but I believe all fashion IS a form of costume, so there we go. 

There were also heaps of super street-ready, super desirable pieces that will fly from retail. A studded sweater with a unicorn or a honey bee on it (pick one, the choice is yours), some haberdashery style 'homemade' longline skirts, and the most exquisite pelmet gilets were just three of the go-anywhere, look awesome, commercial big hitters. 

Entitled Utopie, this was a collection - and performance - that set out to use history as a way to fathom a possible ideal future - a utopia. Creative Director Jun Takahashi said backstage: 'It was about the world , the new order. The new. The imaginary. And the old times.' Elizabethan ruffs, Alice in Wonderland/Queen of Hearts vibes and 19th century Cossack style pom-poms were just some of the storybook components from pages long past. With a soundtrack designed by Thom Yorke and a single spotlight at the centre of a red velvet curtained room - in a 19th century orchestral venue - as the show opener, a subsequent choreographed performance saw models arrive in clusters. Here, a fashion show no longer comprised of sections. It comprised of acts. The 'acts' included the aristocracy, the monarchy, young rebels and the clergy.

The takeaway? Perhaps that everyone is a queen. That everyone is a soldier. That everyone can be a fire starter, (those punkish horned headpieces did not go unnoticed). 

There was also an incredible section entitled 'a new species', as Jun Takahashi also said that he wanted to look at 'the connections between humans and insects'. Fundamentally, the thing that connects us all is nature. We are all a part of nature. We all come from it - all enemies, friends, politicians and religions included. 

All races were not included here though, casting wise. This is such a big topic that an entire thesis could be written about the Japanese gaze and its representation of global culture within fashion. Many Japanese designers interestingly also don't include Asian models in their collections. Just as the white gaze ruled the Western history books, so it does too for many of the Japanese designers - fixated as they are with exoticising Western history's past. One thing that can be said is that the Japanese designers understand history's rebellious relationship with the future of fashion design better than almost all living designers.

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