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’2011 s/s Collection “L’Etranger”‘

by Jae Lee

Glass-Space

Exhibition opens Oct. 25, closes Oct. 30

Taro Horiuchi, one of a new generation of Japanese fashion designers, studied and established himself in London and Antwerp, Belgium. Unlike many other designers who have followed similar career paths, however, he chose to return to Japan to launch his first collection. This might not sound surprising, but a problem often associated with Japanese fashion is that once a designer is established abroad, he or she tends to stay and show abroad. Yohji Yamamoto’s 2010 show in Tokyo, for example, was his first in Japan in 19 years.

Horiuchi, who fears that current fusions of art and fashion in Japan are predominantly shallow, believes in cultivating a whole new concept by fully absorbing artistic movements or artist inspirations into the fashion scene. For him, opening Glass-Space Tokyo — a boutique that is also a gallery and the designer’s atelier — was the first step to such a vision. His launch show, the 2010 autumn/winter collection, used minimalism as its main theme and had as the contributing artist Lee U-Fan, a leading member of Mono-Ha, the late 1960s-70s Japanese avant-garde movement known for its minimalist aesthetic. Lee U-Fan’s installation complemented Horiuchi’s minimalist-influenced collection of mostly slick, black couture.

This month, for the 2011 spring/summer collection, Horiuchi takes on John Warwicker of the British design group Tomato, and who is also known as a former member of the electronic band Underworld. This collaboration takes quite a turn from the previous, more somber show, expanding on the clothing collection’s color palettes and textiles with music, graphic art and videos.

Still new in concept, Glass-Space still has many elements up in the air, but the designer assures us that it will be in constant creative flux. And though it is still sells outstanding designerwear, he also plans on producing affordable limited-edition goods, similar to souvenirs that people can pick up at the end of a museum exhibition.

Glass-Space is at 2-10-28 B1, Kita Aoyama, Minato-ku; admission free; open Mon.- Fri., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information, call (03) 6804-3813 or visit www.tarohoriuchi.com.