A cropped perfecto awakened with leather feathers, bayadere stripes on an overblown underskirt, Jun Takahashi is fearless. His eagerness to constantly play with contrasts is only equaled by his ability to avoid the obvious at all costs, nurturing a creativity that grows every year. It’s been 25 years since UNDERCOVER emancipated from the pack, already. To this day, the designer remains a lone wolf, steamed in punk attitude at his core. On his side of the fashion world, more than anywhere else, exploration is creation.
If there ever was one designer who established himself as a Japanese streetwear leader and Ura-Harajuku pioneer, it is, indeed, Jun Takahashi himself.
Spectacular, yet restrained, Takahashi’s designs for UNDERCOVER naturally found their place in the Parisian Fashion Week schedule and at LECLAIREUR, as early as 2002.
“We make noise, not clothes”
“I wanted to create clothing that were hardly beautiful ; I wanted to interpret culture through fashion.” Much like Vivienne Westwood, one of Jun Takahashi’s major sources of inspiration, the designer imagines garments that reflect and discuss the world that surrounds him.
It’s the same creativity that offered the brand collaborations and opportunities with free-spirited and edgy creative minds – Hiroshi Fujiwara, leading figure in Tokyoite streetwear, Takahiro Miyashita, designer for The Soloist, or, closer to Takahashi, Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons’ founder, with whom he bounded in the mid-nineties, when she asked to buy a pair of sneakers which he graciously offered her as a gift.
The latest womenswear show, during Paris Fashion Week, shook with his hunger for research and experimentation and saw Matthieu Bournel’s art turned into prints, and a pyramidal bag – made out of glass and leather – nesting a golden apple. The models, mystical beats with a thousand reflections, walked with their foreheads ornamented with golden antlers, modernized hybrid nymphs. The AW16 collection conjures reinvented cultures, mystical forgotten animals, and nature, fantasized.