Tensions were higher than usual at GVGV’s show last Saturday night that closed this Tokyo Fashion Week, as the nine-year veteran brand presented a stunning collection on a specially made shiny vinyl runway.
The first look was a long billowing purple dress with bell sleeves capped off with a sun bonnet channeling Daisy Buchanan of Great Gatsby lore. Another arresting creation — in which an orange tailored suit was coupled with sultry leather gloves and a fedora — could well hold its own with the likes of private eye Dick Tracy.
This collection at first seemed to be playing to a 1920s beat, but then it became clear that something more was afoot; a blouse with a mosaic print of stained glass, a curious skirt with staircase-like layers, and a column dress with an undulating bustline — there was, here, an undeniable architectural air as well.
Hence it was less than entirely surprising when designer Mug announced she had been inspired by the likes of the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi and his Segrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona. Like the topsy-turvy style of her muse du jour, the collection ended up cycling through the decades, from cute mini dresses of the 1960s to big black ’80s-style fur jackets. But the looks were all coherent, with a timeless modernity in mind (and the colored gloves were things to lust over), reminding us that here is a label that consistently gives creditable clout to the Tokyo Collections.
As the headlining veteran of this season’s JFW, designer Mug sat down to discuss the business of creativity with the JT in her atelier after the show.
This is your first time closing Japan Fashion Week. Does it feel good to be the banner brand?
I think my allocated spot was just good timing (laughs). JFW had a spot available, so I took it.
So you didn’t plan on making a return after showing off-schedule last season?
I put more emphasis on how I show the labor of my hard work than on the timing of the show and the atmosphere of where I choose to hold it. If the time and place is right, then I would gladly participate in JFW every season. However, it’s difficult since the season between the autumn/winter and spring/summer collections is quite short, and I prefer to let my creative process play out — which sometimes takes longer than the schedule allows.
But isn’t there more of an advantage to showing on-schedule, so more foreign buyers and press can see your collection?
Honestly, I have yet to see any numbers showing that it really has an effect on my brand either way. I sell in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia, but they come directly to me. I know that some designers see Tokyo as a stepping stone to going global, but I think there is still a lot of room for me to express myself as a designer while staying here. Therefore, I find it unnecessary to up and leave.
What about the future of your line, and of Japanese fashion in general?
As for the industry, I see more young designers getting into the game. It’s great to see they are getting so much support, especially as they have a certain kind of raw energy which is so important in this scene. This city still has a lot to offer, and for my line, I can only keep designing according to my creative vision and see where it takes me.
So can we hope to see you participate in JFW in the future?
It depends . . . I think that if the main goal of JFW is to prep designers for going overseas, then it needs to change formats and it won’t be a setup suitable for me. For next season though, it depends if my inspiration comes to me early enough. Otherwise, expect something whenever is best for my collection.