>> A month before the shows, I had prepped a trend board for the Toni & Guy Hair Meets Wardrobe presentation at LFW as part of their style collective. One of them was Mineral Magic based on the use of prints and textures that replicate natural minerals of the earth. Not that I've notched up any major shows that have gone with this trend flow but it was good to see that I ish got it right when I walked into Japanese label Toga's intimate presentation in the beautiful room of the Gaite Lyrique. Designer Yasuko Furuta has been doing a fine job fusing unexpected elements together to create her own brand of cut n' paste, mix n' match "Whudda thunk it?" kind of style. Toga is at that stage right now where it's gaining international recognition with growing number of key stockists as well as a stronger presence in Paris.
On their second presentation, Furuta decided to go concise and send out ten looks that summed up S/S 14 for them. Why, Magic Mineral has popped up as the central focal point of the collection as your eyes can't help but be drawn to the giant hexagonal "minerals" (made of perspex or acrylic) in symmetrical formation on the dresses and tops. They resemble the clothing equivalent of a wave of graphic designers and set designers that I personally really love – people like Faye Toogood, Robert Storey and the sort of people that pop up on It's Nice That all the time. Where gemstone-replica decoration on clothing has become commonplace, less precious minerals and surfaces that look a lot more naturalistic and organic have yet to take the centre stage as embellishments. The ensembles in Toga's collection made the models look like intrepid mineralogists mixed with priestesses of a masonic lodge, if ever such a thing were to exist. The concise presentation made it all the more memorable and hopefully aids Toga in its bid to catch the world's attention as its Japanese compatriot Chitose Abe has done at Sacai. In the showroom, Toga's prowess at creating things that tug at your pursestrings (and heartstrings) full reveals itself. Toga's diffusion Pulla line plays with the sportswear drift that everyone is on but always with some sort of fabrication point of difference. Their mainline is of course larger than the ten pieces we saw last week and you get to marvel at the full range which includes big stoned belts, sunglasses made in collaboration with Prism, chunky two-tone knits and raffia textured tops. I've said this before but the Toga effect never fails to bate as everytime I wear something by the brand, be it a statement biker jacket, a simple t-shirt or a printed skirt, someone (and not always "fashion" people, I might add) always enquires about it. That's a fairly good gauge of eye-catching design and thankfully, Toga has an equally catchy name to remember.