Nozomi Ishiguro 2011/12 Haute Couture collection

One of the Japan Fashion Week shows I that most wanted to see, which was rescheduled for April 15th was Nozomi Ishiguro.

That the collection was Autumn/Winter made it no surprise that fur and shearling was used liberally – but in surprising ways and with splashes of colour that proved Winter doesn’t have to be about grey and black. Bright corals and reds add pops of vibrant delicious colour with hints of regal majesty.

Rich in textural detail, outfits featured shearling skirts and long shaggy shearling boots bound with buckles, but paired with lace leggings for lightness and contrast. Knitwear is artfully distressed, as if unravelled through wear and perhaps battle.

Ishiguro used quilting to great effect, lending a futurist almost cyber look even when paired with shearling or folk details. It reminds me of Burberry Prorsum’s biker pants and jackets, except Ishiguro takes it a step further, fashioning almost a breastplate in the men’s jacket – instant six-pack, anyone?

The warrior armour motif continues in the men’s looks with the use of metallic blacks & greys, luxe silver knit that signifies chain-mail, fur pant overlays and totemic tribal touches – although the tall pilgrim hats on some models seem at odds with the theme to me.

Overall there was a Mongolian warrior meets the 21st century theme. I loved the long shaggy fur coats and boots, but found the furry flat shoes less successful.

Even the ubiquitous camel coloured coat is given an edgy makeover in Ishiguro’s hands, when paired with an intricate belt as befitting an urban warrior, as well as sequinned lapels, a lacy ethereal blouse and drapy pants. Likewise a camel knit skirt is unravelled and paired with an intricate folk print jacket – and platform stripper shoes! There is nothing safe about the use of camel in this collection.

One of my absolute favourite looks is the black and white striped confection below, for its Tim-Burton like aesthetic and its kookiness. Even just the headscarf alone, with the shaggy fur tufting up like a bleached dread mohawk, is intriguing, although I can’t see anyone rushing out to buy the dress with the half fur/half knit skirt – or are they pants?

There are numerous looks to love, as well as a few to ponder over. The folk-futurism of the collection is certainly memorable if not always wearable. What do you think? What are your favourite looks, that you’d wear (if money were no object?)

* Photos from Fashion Snap, but you can see the entire collection at the Nozomi Ishiguro website.

Nozomi Ishiguro

When I was last in Tokyo, I got a firsthand introduction to the fashion of Nozomi Ishiguro – previously only a name from Japan Fashion Week. I saw some amazing pieces in store at Lumine Est Shinjuku – the quirky shopfront (as you can see below) really enticed me in to see what the collection was like.

I’m not usually that excited by knits, but in his hands they became truly creative pieces, almost works of art. Very textured, and with great colour, I was most tempted to buy a knitted skirt. Inside the store was this most unusual cubby-house type structure, covered all over with oddities – more of an art installation, I guess….

I got up to the top floor roof garden for Merry Go Land (remember my post on Grimoire and Tarock at Merry Go Land earlier?) and saw some Nozomi Ishiguro gear up close.  He uses tweed-like fabrics in totally non-Chanel or traditional ways: assymetrically draped, ruffled and ruched, and paired with other fabrics.

It gave the nobbled fabric a real hipness and modernity, and showed that it could be flirty and fun, and quirky and edgy. Well, I never! I was tempted, as I said, but as it was 37 degrees in Tokyo right then, I was really NOT looking for clothing in a warm fabric like this  – despte seeing  fall/winter fashion beginning to flood the stores.

It was with great interest that I saw pics from the Osaka show (from Japanese Streets); it was the same collection “Gypsy Ballerina”, but they look sooo much more ipressive on the human form!

There is a newer Summer collection out now, but I prefer this one, comparing the two. Definitely a designer who deserves more recognition. Let’s see whether 2011 brings that recognition.