matohu - JFW '09 SS

Women's Collection Lines
15 September 2008
Thoughts and pictures from the Japan Fashion Week collection show on September 4, 2008
Japan Fashion Week
September 4, 2008

There is a natural, soft, and loose aesthetic sweeping Japan at the moment, and its most articulate practitioners have skillfully blended international post-consumerist chic with the more animistic traditions of Japanese culture. matohu's designers Hiroyuki Horihata and Makiko Sekiguchi are some of the most masterful in this style arena, transforming idyllic ancient Asian clothing forms into a contemporary femininity.

Like last season, matohu made robes and long coats into a central conceit. This time, however, they deconstructed the simple bathrobe overlap of two sides by having a contrasting inner material flee out to form the main portion at the crossover. When not laying long and straight for the robes, matohu played with a lot of silky gather, most memorably in a pink blouse with increasingly excess material between each button — a simplified and indigenous take on European aristocratic neck ruffles.

Airy white textured materials were ultimately the collection's bread-and-butter, looking as if they came straight from the leathery hands of ancient Kyoto craftsmen. Most prints looked to nature for inspiration: leaves over a field of cherry-blossom pink, the fractal geometry of small bush leaves, simple black-and-white illustrations of branches and flower. Two colorful short jackets featured puffy icons and piping, but generally everything looked ultra-organic, as if Japan's myriad Shinto gods had forged the collection in a quiet river valley.

— W. David Marx

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