There has been so much rhetoric about resets in fashion recently that it sometimes feels like we’re stuck in some piece of obsolescence-threatened, endlessly glitching hardware, with designers, retailers, and editors alike repeatedly switching off and on again, praying for the lights to come on. With this typically left-field collection—way more Linux than Windows or Mac—Takahiro Miyashita devolved our reset mania from digital to analogue and then embraced the positives of being on the way to something that feels more functioning than previously.
This show at Tokyo Fashion Week was, he said in a Q&A, a half-way between the previous digital exile and a hoped-for return to Paris, “my spiritual home.” The name of the collection was Pause = Play, which he rationalized thus: “I have never looked back on my own past or self-reflected but this season I started to develop the collection by thinking about who I am as a person. I pressed pause for a moment in order to press play again. On the day of the runway show, I will press play to complete the collection.” Past influences that played into this present Soloist chapter included a representative from the Blue Man Group (a formative influence on the designer) and a graphic based on a Joseph Szabo photograph Miyashita has long admired, which was then “shredded” as if part of a recorded film you’d pressed pause on using a clapped-out VHS machine.
The show also revealed a fractious relationship with bags, a category that continues to adrenalize the business. The designer said: “I saw the saturation of bags on runways and wanted to think about models posing without bags and question the necessity of carrying bags.” Near sacrilegiously he incorporated his portage into bag-like but not bag-identifying structures, sort of beyond-pockets, within the garments. To add a distinctly lockdown-fatigued twist, he then shrouded his models in, well, bags. “I wanted models who hover between the real and unreal,” he added.
Once you paused pausing at these details to play through the collection head-to-toe, the narrative became dominated by ironically intricate sci-fi vests, tailoring shrouded in veils of what looked like talcum-scattered transparent rubber, and the rigorous Rorschach beauty of those shredded Szabo graphics. And then, stop.