>> I just left St Pancras station about an hour ago to head over to Paris in what the last leg of what has been a whirlwind month. I know I say I’m frightfully busy every time I’m fashion-weeking and you’re all rolling your eyes at me when street style images make it look like I’m just loitering around on the streets with my phone, but this season, I promise, I REALLY have been busy. This BBC iPlayer thing happened (I haven’t yet watched it – I can’t actually listen to myself speak because it’s too excruciating) where you see me dosing up on eye drops because the night before I was at Somerset House doing a shoot for the The Daily having just got off a plane from New York an hour before. And so and so forth. Yadda yadda yadda, I’ve been busy.
But anyhow, back to St. Pancras. just as I was on the platform, I peered over into the space at the very grand St Pancras Renaisssance Hotel where Japanese label Toga had their second presentation in London. This time, it felt like they had made more of an inroad on an international audience beyond the core of people will have always known about Toga. I love watching these Japanese secrets being unleashed and impressing. As I was leaving, it was cool to overhear people go, “That was quite good wasn’t it?” as if they were surprised that it should be so. My first show in Paris will be Anrealage, who are showing for the first time. Having been to three of their shows in Tokyo, I’m hoping it will be as mesmerising an experience in the city of lights as it is in designer Kunihiko Morinaga’s hometown. He will sure to be another Japanese revelation, following in mega success stories like Sacai.
But I digress again. Toga was a whole lotta good. It had a whole lotto things going on but it was all good. They have a real knack of making the unexpected look convincing. A neon pink organza ruffle poking out of a maroon sweater paired with a sheer knife pleat skirt is a odd take on prim but it works. As does a demi jacket hybridised with a tailored shirt adorned with mirrored panels. There’s contradiction and contrast aplenty – my kind of c words. For every satin corset work, for frou ruffle or pretty plisse pleat, there’s a juxtaposing foil in a voluminous silhouette, a pair of jeans (beautifully patchworked together with invisible thread), or a wide buckled belt to weight things down. The asymmetric metal earrings, the patent tasselled clutches and the netting sandals also gave the collection the sort of chaotic feeling that is at the centre of designer Yasuko Furata’s entire ethos for Toga. There is a deliberate awkwardness to the way the silhouettes are mashed together but taken apart, Toga still excels. Whenever I’ve seen Toga on rails in a shop or int he showroom, it’s always all too easy to beeline for individual statement making pieces that are interesting all by themselves. Toga may not be an editorial secret anymore but the tactile touch of the product all is still something that only a few get to experience. I urge people to go and try and get ye into some Toga if you can and feel it for yourself.