Kamishima Chinami - JFW '09 SS

Women's Collection Lines
07 September 2008
Thoughts and pictures from the Japan Fashion Week collection show on September 2, 2008
Japan Fashion Week
Kamishima Chinami
"Welcome Rain"
September 2, 2008

Normally operating from the unlikely fashion base of Japan's northernmost island Hokkaido, Chinami Kamishima comes down to Tokyo every JFW to grace the city with her unique fashion worldview. Her last collection was a deep dive into medieval European costume drama. This time around, Kamishima lost the theatrics and went for a more abstracted, less thematic design.

Kamishima looked to the African continent for inspiration, but nothing was too literal. The savannah theme did not manifest in a flat, idyllic set of clothing. Instead the collection was heavy on explosive details mimicking the dynamism of the natural ecosystem.

In the very first look, the designer unleashed a wild metallic texture constructed from 20,000 safety pins. Throughout, Kamishima shaped organic patterns from the random arrangement of cold, artificial materials, most notably, scale leather that looked like a high-speed freeze-frame of Post-It notes sucked into a black hole.

Safari-ready beige was a key color, elegantly employed on a jacket and suspender-held, short-hemmed baggy pants. A yellow silk satin dress with upright shoulder tassel echoed the plumage of a jungle bird. The rain theme only became direct and explicit on a geometrical, diagonal line print jacket and shorts. Overall, Kamishima showed a mature balance between creative imagination and intelligent design, resulting in a near-timeless set of exquisite pieces.

— W. David Marx

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