Ryunosukeokazaki Tokyo Fall 2022 Collection


At Ryunosuke Okazaki’s fall show in Tokyo, models walked out of the shadows toward a dazzling wall of light. The designer imagined them moving in the direction of a promising future. It cannot be overlooked, however, that all of Okazaki’s work is informed by an event that occurred 50 years before his birth. The designer was born in Hiroshima, a city destroyed by an American atomic bomb in World War II. Perhaps that helps to explain the title he gave his lineup, “Pray,” and his main preoccupations: nature, Japan, and peace.

As there’s been an undercurrent of religiosity this season, I wrote to Okazaki, an LVMH Prize finalist this year, asking him how he was using the word pray, and why designers might be incorporating aspects of spirituality into their work. “It is not a religious ‘prayer,’ but something more fundamental, something that is usually inherent in the human heart,” he replied. “Thinking about prayer, which is an act of connecting with primitive nature, may be necessary in this day and age,” he added. “To create is also to pray.”

What Okazaki produced this season was in line with what he showed for spring. Notable here was his use of a sheer ombre material, which created a feeling of insect-wing fragility. There was also a syncopation that was achieved by the juxtaposition of open spaces. On some of the overarching constructs he used perforated fabric as well as cutouts. “Perhaps the skin, which is not covered but visible in places, looks like a fabric with holes in it,” he suggested in an email.

Each of his looks is a microcosm that is meant to be read graphically and dimensionally. When designing Okazaki is not only considering the relation of shapes and fabrics to the body, but also the negative space they create around the body, a concept known as Ma. “I considered the airy Ma as a part of the clothing’s form, and created it while considering the balance in the relationship with the body,” he wrote. Adding to that sense of lightness was the designer’s use of suspension, knits, and perforated fabrics.

Okazaki’s creations might be as space-taking as those of Craig Green, but they are not intended to have any aspects of shelter or escape. “I am more focused on decoration than function,” he explained. The designer shows his clothes, some of which lean toward the stereotypically feminine, on men and women, yet because they exude a sort of air of alien sexiness akin to that of orchids (which are hermaphrodites), they seem to transcend gender altogether. What Okazaki appears to be proposing is design that is in harmony with nature and the body (and perhaps the past), design that promotes a message of peace. In a world gone mad his heartfelt work speaks of hope.



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