Heath - JFW '08 AW

Men's Collection Lines
01 April 2008
Thoughts and pictures from the collection show
Japan Fashion Week
March 12, 2008

With his first Heath collection, menswear designer Gentaro Noda seems to want it all: none of the pieces in his first JFW show are open to a simple genre classification, nor could be drawn to a larger collection theme. The heavy use of black, trendy lines, and oversized sweaters first channeled standard tropes of prêt-a-porter “designer” men’s wear, but the military-inspired jackets, hooded nylon parkas, and windbreakers would not be out of place in a run-of-the-mill Ura-Harajuku street-wear store. Trouser bottoms sagged in glorious volume one minute and were tucked cleanly into boots to approximate skinny leg silhouettes the next.

Most of Heath’s pieces ultimately stuck with traditional forms, adding only slight touches, like superfluous buttons, to offer a semblance of unique flavor. The reverse-direction bottom-label grey suit jacket showed great potential for re-imagining conventions, but sadly, this conceptual trick stood alone in the collection.

One of the few consistencies was the color palette (or lack thereof): monotone black and grays. This simplicity, however, allowed Noda to focus attention on the unique fabric choices: a pronounced battle between matte and gloss. These contrasting textures even fought it out for dominance on single pieces, namely, the baseball jacket and the black down-jacket, sans front zipper, with glossy “arm band.”

Traditional wool scarves in black, white, grey, and red rounded things out, and the ubiquity of usage subsequently emphasized the neckline when absent. The great diversity of pieces could mean commercial potential for the fledgling brand, but this show made it hard to get a read on Noda’s specific, individual vision or possible future directions for exploration.(Click on Photo Gallery button at left to view original photography of the show.)