Knocking off international runway trends is a disaster. That more than one designer referenced Demna Gvasalia and Vetements heavily at MBFWA did not go unnoticed. But taking the temperature of the fashion times is smart. And putting your own unique spin in it, even better.
That’s exactly what event veteran Akira Isogawa did with his Resort ’18 show. The Kyoto-born designer, who made his Australian fashion week debut 19 years ago, presented the coolest collection of the week.
The first exit hinted at what was to come, with a man’s white shirt embellished on the sleeves with delicate white petals. Isogawa and long-term collaborator, stylist Kelvin Harries were unafraid to put the boys in florals, cotton skirts and sheer silks, and the girls in androgynous rompers and karate pants. The show blurred the old-fashioned binary gender values, mashing up men’s and women’s looks.
Everyone’s at it. Also at Australian fashion week, Dion Lee opened the event last weekend with menswear and womenswear together, while on Thursday Ten Pieces showed a unisex collection at Bondi Icebergs. Prada got in first, with girls on the guy’s runway from 2014. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele is very influential – his male and female models have been sharing catwalk space and styling since 2015. Meanwhile Burberry began officially combining its men’s and women’s collections in September.
But Akira is no copyist. His take was very much his own - sporty, cool and true to his Japanese roots. The designer accessorised a teal blue trench with an obi-like red sash, for example, and riffed on Japanese florals and cotton kimono sleeves. But just when that might have seemed too literal, he spun the theme on its head with an injection of urban grit.
Akira’s sequined tanks and see-through organzas turned sporty with the addition of sneakers and football socks. All done with a deft but light hand, so that what could have been try-hard came over as inspired.