With his sophomore Paris collection, which emphasized the stark contrast between light and dark, Kunihiko Morinaga proved he’s the latest in the long, proud tradition of Japanese conceptualists. Which isn’t to suggest his label, Anrealage (a self-contradictory portmanteau of the words ‘real’ and ‘unreal’), is in any way new. In fact, it’s taken a decade to get to this point, with Morinaga slowly but steadily building a reputation for experimental design that he wryly calls “everyday” clothes.
It’s hard to imagine what’s “everyday” about his fall collection — or the bone or 8-bit themes of previous collections — although attempting to imagine in the first place is surely part of it. Models with an enlarged cranium emerged in all black with a contrasting white circle on their torso. By stripping away Western conceits, namely sex appeal, and focusing only on light as a concept, Morinaga effectively forced a spotlight onto the fashion and relegated its wearer to the shadows.
Later pieces introduced more colors of the rainbow, but it was this first segment that stunned the audience speechless, not only with the concept, but with the intense manipulation at work — or is it play? The knits and weaves, wefts and warps, all blending together and re-blending between black and white and shades of gray, was truly a sight to behold. A black trench that had been methodically transformed into a near-perfect circle and paired with an unassuming skirt and pumps spoke volumes about what it was not — typical.
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