mercibeaucoup, - JFW '09 SS

Men's/Women's Collection Lines
03 September 2008
Thoughts and pictures from the Japan Fashion Week collection show on September 1, 2008
September 1, 2008

Most of the Tokyo Collection brands either design in a vacuum or work hard to distance themselves from the verdant fashion ecosystem on Japanese streets. mercibeaucoup,'s Eri Utsugi, on the other hand, welcomes Tokyo's youthful and unbridled cutie fashion aesthetics on her magic carpet and whisks the party towards a higher conceptual plane.

For spring/summer 2009, Utsugi looked to India for a dose of inspiration: huge Bengal tigers and cartoonish Ganesha elephants appeared to a backtrack of tabla grooves. Madras check is Indian too, technically-speaking, and there was a whole lot of that, clashing and dancing in a chaotic color explosion with earth tones, pop comic prints, big pastel solids, classic gingham, trad red-white-and-blue, and geometric stripes. Relaxed bohemian dresses and color pom-pom necklaces recalled a Yellow Submarine recreation of The Beatles at the Maharishi's Rishikesh camp, just as a soft cover of "Let It Be" hit the jukebox (after, of course, a Nintendo-retro version of "Peter Gunn" and a whistled reproduction of the "Imperial March" from Star Wars.)

Utsugi's idea of playful femininity was visible in the overwhelming looseness: enormous T-shirts and cutesy loose shoulder dresses with pronounced cinched belts. Other than the dresses, the cuts on pants were generally unisex, high-waisted drop crotch pants for both boys and girls.

mercibeaucoup,'s trade-mark item, however, has always been the hooded sweatshirt, and this collection played with the hoodie in new ways. There was the droopy asymmetrical water-drop look and a giant plaid worksuit that zipped up over the face to turn the wearer into a stylish Scottish swamp monster.

Anywhere other than Japan, critics would complain that mercibeaucoup,'s clothing is not "wearable" or that the styling was contrived. A step out of the venue doors and into the streets, however, confirms that Utsugi's super-fun vision of designer casual may just be Tokyo boiled down to its pure essence.

— W. David Marx

(Click on Photo Gallery button at left to view original photography by Sean Wood.)