N. Hoolywood - '09 SS

Men's Collection Lines
23 September 2008
Thoughts and pictures from the collection show on September 10, 2008
N. Hoolywood
"New Order"
September 10, 2008

N. Hoolywood
is no doubt the hottest designer streetwear label in Japan, equally beloved by magazine editors and "the kids." If you ever run into trouble finding their amazing, yet obscurely-located Mister Hollywood retail headquarters, just follow the constant stream of young male shoppers filtering down from Omotesando station.

Despite a brand name suggesting classic movie star glamour, designer Daisuke Obana seems mostly obsessed with "traditional" American styles. Oh no, this does not mean "preppie." Obana digs into almanacs and encyclopedias to hit at U.S. subcultures generally considered outside the range of "fashion." The last two collections have taken cues from two intensely square themes: the flag-waving and crew-cuts of the 1960s space program (SS '08) and the pretension-free Cleveland winter style of American Splendor's Harvey Pekar (AW '08-'09).

Obana took his brand even deeper into the history textbooks with 2009's spring/summer collection. Under the deceptive title "New Order," a gaggle of young, amateur caucasian models sported messy Prince Valiant haircuts and adorably-terrible adolescent posture, generally looking like the alumni from a dozen Mark Twain novels. (The joke is that "New Order" refers to a breakaway Amish sect.) The clothing fleshed out the 19th century Americana vibe: featureless vests, clamdiggers with knee-high socks, suspender(s), baggy pants, work wear, and earth monotones. The main design motif — a symmetrical squares-in-square used in Amish quilting — showed up on T-shirts and made up the actual runway.

The Huck Finn wardrobe worked surprisingly well as Tokyo-ready streetwear, but Obana pulled out his big guns with the final array of suits. The theme of old-timey of course meant three-piece, but Obana added some nice innovations such as short rounded lapels, hidden buttons, and a Nehru collar.

With the recent popularity of "gilets" among Japanese youth, perhaps the vest-frenzy finale was an Amish parody of the Tokyo streets. N. Hoolywood's collection confirms, however, that the vest boom will most definitely continue for another year, although things may get slightly more Tom Sawyer.

— W. David Marx

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