Fashion Week Focus: Oriental

Dazed Fashion Director Karen Langley picks her favourite S/S11 shows featuring Japanese kimono fabrics and martial arts inspired shapes

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My love of Japan was embraced by a multitude of designers this season. Francisco Costa was one of the first to introduce an Asian persuasion for Spring/Summer. Costa's signature minimalism was exemplified by tunics and three-quarter length trouser combinations that immediately transported me back to Kyoto, to the staple dress worn in the most traditional Ryokans and Kaiseki dining rooms in the city.

Olivier Theyskens designed an ode to Japan, using his slightly more street take on minimalism in his debut capsule collection for Theory. Contemporary tailoring, denim and elongated silhouettes were punctuated with collars sliced with a V in the back, reminiscent of the decorative make-up painted on the nape of the neck of the Japanese Geisha.

In London I was lucky enough to be working with Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos for the sixth season. Asian influences were evident in the crisscross of fabrics that became their motif throughout the S/S11 collection. The combination of subtle prints and lace flowing around each model was reminiscent of Japanese kimonos. In Paris, Phoebe Philo played on this theme to a greater extent by sending Anabela Belikova and Freja Beha Erichsen down the runway for Celine in crisp white waistcoats; a clever interpretation of a quilted martial arts suit.

Christopher Kane, and later Louis Vuitton, displayed an enthusiasm for the East in a slightly more playful way. Kane emblazoned dresses and twinsets with the unlikely motif of yakuza tattoos, while Marc Jacobs sent out an army of girls, fan in hand, in a disco take on the 1920s Mandarin gown. Jacobs used Vuitton as a vehicle to play homage to his first mentor and teacher, Kansai Yamamoto.

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