A Blush of Rose
Autumn - Winter 2016 part 4.
Taking it's route inspiration from the TOGA robe itself who's name means 'blessed robe', TOGA has branched out from Japan to give it's vision of style a global presence. The robe envelops the form in the many new guises that TOGA takes each season and the devotion to researching exclusive high quality fabrics gives the platform for Yasuko Furuta to create something each season that has it's own self assured stamp of modern luxury.
Art is a powerful influence in her work and the catwalk headed by an image reminiscent of Matisse's cut outs set the tone for the collections as it unfolded. TOGA draws an audience tuned to sophistication embraced by Furuta and keen to see what was coming next. On the morning of day five of London Fashion Week there where a large number of very alert eyes taking keen interest in the show and I spotted a number of well known editors there from the British magazine and newspaper titles.
TOGA illustrates how London plays home to designers who sell globally and reach many markets with a taste for luxury fashion with a trans-global feel.
Lose, long lines featured prominently in the collection but the tailoring was always there. In the coat above to the left, suit style broad lapels played with relaxing convention and luxuriant lining peaking out from underneath in a casual display of the garments alter ego. Belts with equal measure of refinement as well as practicality sat loosely over the surface of garments defining a sensible light form of elegance that didn't take itself too seriously on the catwalk. A broad stripe shirt with sleeves flared outwards and upwards at the cuffs and a white upper pinafore style neckline bib signals a move towards a more simplified contemporary casual look with perhaps a slightly more mainstream appeal than TOGA has shown in some previous collections. Students and city slickers alike could wear this and enjoy it. Black trousers sitting a little higher on the waist offset with the cutaway Matisse inspired animal forms add a twist of colour while also looking luxurious. Comfort is key to the composition of this and each collection ably illustrates the devotion to sourcing the best textiles. In her world of chaos the TOGA woman is amply wrapped up against the elements.
Faux fur was wrapped around the neck, shoulders and draped like a cape in many looks in a variation of the muffs dotted through the collection including arm length pieces. This kept a tangible exploration of a colour palette of navy, Marine blues with browns and greens from Earth and Forrest touching different areas of the palette of nature. This collection themed around Land Art represents lives starting and ending in the indifferent unfathomable natural world. Themes are Candy, Coffee, dancing figures frogs and the human-created airplane blending with nature or making it's place in the natural world felt. The essence of energy is captured in the motif of mitochondria symbolising the mytosis and genesis of life; while faux fur is used to battle the elements of nature and protect the form. Conceptualism and practicality go hand in hand.
Stylish hints of Victorian pocket watch belt chains and buckles on light chest plates add a masculine flavour accompanying trousers showing influence from men's naval style. In line with the traditional elements that have been re-worked there is a strong sense of post-punk rebellion with the energy of defiance turned down a few notches to compose itself into a meaningful defined succession of wearable styles. These are looks that could very definitely find their way's off the catwalks and into the wardrobe with ease. Within the TOGA House style day wear and evening wear are both equally well encompassed providing plenty of options for those wishing to don sacred robes this season.
Christopher is known for his mastery of ex-military ware recycling, reusing and re-working to create comfortable separates and total looks that will fit into the urban or natural landscapes. His vision often transports the masculine into the feminine thus illustrating true utilitarianism of design and readiness to tackle to world of complex living that we inhabit today. Christopher Raeburn's girl is usually ready for any challenge that may be thrown at her. Translating the durability of fabric into the strength given to the wearer.
His Autumn - Winter 2016 collection was launched in collaboration with The Woolmark Company, throwing a spotlight on the abilities of Merino Wool to resist fire, detract harmful microbes and regulate it's own moisture intake and temperature. Technology is playing a greater and greater role in fabric design and development globally. Merino with it's highly adaptable properties to suit the needs of contemporary design lends itself particularly well to the exploration of creating duffles, fleece pile jackets and weave from the natural fibre. Deconstructing and altering the epaulet lines of the traditional military jacket to create a casual ease in the urban suit above reverses the notions of intensity and force of military life originally associated with the designs. The energy is released and dissipated to leave a natural sense of comfort.
A jacket made from the re-worked style of Cold Stream or Scots Guards army parade jackets with a dress using naval camouflage design blends two different heritages into one urban street style look. My personal favourite look form the collection and above to the right is a white sheep skin Merino jacket over a naval patterned dress. Bomber jackets featuring prominently in this collection and the white sheep skin bomber is one of the most versatile things you could add to your wardrobe next season. It's perfect for the Autumn and warmer Winter days and will go with many things.
Within the decor of the set and the collection itself, Christopher showed us his essential style matrix for Autumn-Winter 2016. Whether jumpsuits or sporty separates, casual and urban wear made from sustainable fabrics and the enduring commitment to creating clothes that meet the challenges of modern life.
Here either side are two pieces of historical clothing that where displayed alongside the collection showing the base from which Christopher explores creating new garments using his knowledge of disruptive technologies and fabric.
Christopher's sourcing of military clothes shows his determination to keep sustainability alive in the fashion industry today and belief that they illustrate the fundamental way that adapting the past is a viable way of creating fashion of the future.
The sponsorship with Merino appears to be a marriage of genuine conviction and dedication to mutual goals. Wool is naturally renewable, durable and biodegradable and responds to the challenges that the fashion industry in the 21st century demands of it.
The red duffle coat plays with military lines in the cording across the breast while retaining the traditional toggle fastening giving a retro touch to a piece that works the bold red theme of Autumn. Deep pockets and hood allowing for longer and shorter hair show practicality is always in the mind. The quilted marine bomber with dress and under layering sweater is a look focusing on warmth and also ease of movement. Multi layering in the look to the right also captures the power of bold colour harmony combination with a claret red, grey and black. Throughout the collection Christopher uses 2-3 colours in most looks that visually gives a clear, more visually defined message to the person looking at it. It gives an impact that matches the strength of the bold statements that he wants to portray.
Knitwear is a big feature of Christopher repertoire and this season jumbo multi-coloured scarves in chunky knit with trailing tassels kept the cold out also accompanied by round bobble hats. These are super versatile as accessories and channel Christopher's belief in sustainable fabrics. The knitted dress to the left illustrates high texture with it's long tassels in raised relief on the surface like a knitware portable art work it is as soft and warm as it looks.
Parka's play a noted part in the collection with camouflage colouring they blend into an urban or rural landscape keeping the wearer warm, comfortable but also showing a look of sharp style.
For Autumn 2016 the TATA NAKA twins Tamara and Natasha Surguladze looked to an eclectic group of inspirations from the end of the 1970's and dawn of the supercharged 1980's in New York. The mood the collection channels is the free spirited decadence of the Disco era transformed with the closure of Studio 64 in 1979 ushering in the birth of the new era of the 1980's in the brightest of colours. Disco goes Pop in the most literal sense and TATA NAKA interpret the cusp.
Midi length skirts slit open at the side with ruffled and floral fringes paired with cropped tops evoke the long lines of the 1970's silhouette. The flower petal insignia adds a gentle femininity working with the curves of the figure. Colours balance through harmony in mostly duo pairings offering a number of elegant understated looks in the earlier part of the collection story in keeping with the muted elegant trends of the dawn of the 1980's. With the hall mark musings of of convention re-defining style that the twins embrace as the essence of the TATA NAKA woman.
On this romantic adventure through the landscape of New York, dresses that you could party in, wear on a date night or to a formal event have the spark of New York fever. To the far right above the broad lapelled golden coat fastened at the waist is easily transportable elegance that shows how TATA NAKA work with sculptured tailoring to create easy elegance forms in new styles. A Chic Fashion Nouveau statement with plenty of sophistication and glamour appeal.
Grace Jones and Donna Summer appear on sequinned embellishments giving a literal illustration of the light and life that they expounded on the New York Disco scene during their reign, key to the message they also found success in the post-disco era in New York releasing hit records in the 1980's and becoming iconic. Above a black velvet dress with a portrait of Donna in natural earth tones emphasises the beauty of the feminine figure whilst the lines of the stripes of wall street make an entry into the collection in a burst of glitter to the right. These are ultimate party/cocktail dresses evoking the heady days of 1980's fashion but for all this heady atmosphere there is a notable measure of restraint.
Their muse is an uptown party girl who also has the streak of a designer about her and on the last days of disco the dying lights of the party offer her inspiration and note regret. The pulse of the city that never sleeps appears as a bolt of pure fresh energy bordering the dress above to the right. The News paper print of the Wall Street times finds it's way into skirt lengths detailing last nights party adventures in the nightclubs ahead of the trading day.
The resurgent life of wall street blooms in pin stripes of many colours as this part of Manhattan began it's transformation during the 1980's. The suits and striping of the corporate world provide inspiration for yuppie style suits with the twins adding a vibrant twist of colour in their multi-faceted stripes. Above to the left the ruffled front bodice echos the frilled waistcoats of the late 1970's that made their way into women's blouses. The colour feels like a celebration and with the US passing it's 200th anniversary ahead of this is an expression of liberty at it's peak. Strong colours often indicate a sense of confidence in the wearer. The beaded perspex framed bag offers a new stylish idea to that would coordinate well with multi coloured pieces from the collection and mono colour pieces that you may also already have in your collection. Any trace of harsh city lines has disappeared here.
The lines and panels of colour take on a shimmer and a shine with a matching waistcoat and delicate under blouse. Mixing textures to give a feeling of bold on the outside and soft delicacy underneath it's a signal that this lady wear her social armour on the outside perhaps. Working feminine themes shoulders carry light draping to emphasise movement and create a pussy bow effect around the neckline and channel the 80's flare for ostentation that grew through the decade. Waist defining pencil skirts continue the note of elegance and hand painting images of Grace and Donna Summer onto the light fabrics shows the feminine sophistication doesn't lose it's sense of humour. Cartoon strip humour from the 'funnies' pages makes a great source of print inspiration for day and evening wear flexible pieces styled once more in the classic-elegant TATA NAKA way. The two dresses above left are particularly versatile in their adaptability.
Taking a more playful approach once more as the collection draws to a close Grace and Donna not only adorn the wall street press but take flight into space in the form of cartoon space. It's an allegory perhaps of the incredible rise of New York as a financial centre in the 1980's. The two dresses above to the left are smart comfortable pieces that will make a fantastic statement of enjoyment this autumn. For the more daring the sheer diaphanous embroidered sequinned pieces are perfect for clubbing in. To the right two embroidered jackets complete with Sugar sweet flying sorcers make a pop-fashion moment as part of a coordinating look and a golden suit. This was a collection that didn't disappoint TATA NAKA fans and will also draw more new admirers to them. It embraces their eclecticism and shows their passion for playing with ideas in a bold and passionate way. Next season is one of colour.