Throwing around names like Toga and Sacai used to feel like a secret. They are the sort of Japanese labels that if the person you were speaking to knew what they were, you could then collude together and exclaim collectively "Oh my god, HOW good are the clothes?!?" Both Sacai and Toga are roughly the same age, helmed by female designers and emerged in the late nineties as a wave that came about after the explosive eighties debut of Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. They've made quieter inroads into international consciousness and so for a long time, everytime I encountered pieces by these labels, I would greedily want to keep it to myself. Of the two, Sacai has probably come to slightly greater prominence because of their on-schedule shows in Paris for the past three seasons but Toga has also built up a tidy network of stockists that means that my "secret" is most definitely out there.
Feathers, I think were one of the first to stock Toga in the UK and then LN-CC has followed up with a really strong selection. Opening Ceremony have been longtime supporters and Far Fetch of course opens up a number of boutique options that also carry the brand. All the better to spread the word about designer Yasuko Furuta's deft way of combining textures, genres and packing in maximum design to catch the eye in unexpected ways. Like I said before, it's difficult to define Toga's aesthetic purely because the designs are based on intuitive mixing and matching. For the current A/W 12-3 collection, where this flocked peplum that I'm wearing below originates from, Furuta was fixated on geometric motifs that blended Native American patterns and traditional Japanese paper prints through the typical Toga silhouettes of nipped-in waists, interesting layers and texture contrasts. Anything that once was "native" or "traditional" is thankfully obliterated after Furuta has applied her own language. The big story for Toga A/W 12-3 was the new line of Toga Pulla shoes to go with their slightly more affordable and casual second line, which is no less interesting than the mainline. I was lucky enough to score a pair of the Toga Pulla side buckle boots that haven't left my feet mainly because they're my first pair of Cuban heel-ed shoes.
Note of Disclosure: Pictures above taken with Canon EOS M, once again overusing the Miniature effect on the Creative Filter options. One commentor did say it made their eyes go fuzzy. Point taken. I'll be holding back on it. Can you tell I'm genuinely have a whale of a time with this device though? It's the 22mm pancake lens that I'm really digging. Plus, I just like saying pancake lens.
Spring summer 2013 is an equally exciting prospect that sees Yasuka Furuta conveniently slotting right into all vertical stripe action going on for the season with Marc Jacobs being the prime pied piper of this pattern. Furuta was looking at the symmetricality and aerial views of the Palais Royal in Paris as inspiration, which gave way to shrubbery prints and crochet detailing like the manicured trees that line the square and pearl decorations that are like the silver fountain balls in the front courtyard. In the hands of Furuta, the vertical stripe in contrasting vinyl and sheer textures and adorned with ruched up PVC and lurex bows are more interesting ways of wearing this simple pattern. The season will be dominated by the stripe from the high street and beyond, but Toga offers up their own point of difference to this soon-to-be ubiquitous visual. I like the way a sense of the ornate is retained to balance out the stark graphic stripes what with the pearl embellishment, tinsel knits and crochet cardis.
Toga Pulla doesn't scrimp on any interesting detailing either with their range of lame and PVC-adorned separates. They've used the paisley as a repeat pattern on scarves, shirts and skirts, which goes hand in hand with the Western-accented accessories and shoes.