Undercover: A Twisted Fairytale

Bosch meets Black Swan in this balletic inspired coming of age fantasy

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I remember one design project in which we had to pick two seemingly disparate objects, ideas, concepts to be inspired by and cohesively and cleverly bring the two of them together to create a couture collection. I chose chemistry and fantasy (geek) and told the story of faeries emanating from chemical compounds, dragons, fabrics woven from the vapors of fuming beakers…. Another classmate chose to fuse together… pirates. And. Birthday cake…. I will never forget that concept because it is simply so utterly obscure a union, you thought her mad or genius. Pretty sure it was successful.  Confetti colored jackets and all that.

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Fast forward to all the elements Jun Takahashi expertly wove together to tell his dark coming of age fairytale, entitled “Pretty Hate Bird”.  A far more complex union than NIN’s adolescent angst filled Pretty Hate Machine album, and Angry Birds (although I wouldn’t be surprised if Takahashi was listening to one and playing the other at any point during development.) Upon seeing the first girl in her debutant ball gown and wings, I thought we were watching the Swan Princess. But then there were tutus and floaty ballet inspired ensembles, like all the sheer skirts and knits… and I realized he was drawing from Black Swan. The hair and make up did resemble that of Natalie Portman’s in the film.  But then there were  peasant girls/milkmaids (?) Reminiscent of Vermeer’s painting of the subject, and a little of Drew Barrymore’s Ever After Cinderella.  There was thought provoking art: surrealist prints featured trompe-l’œil skulls (not unlike the giant skull emerging from a cherry on the runway), and flowers with batwing shaped leaves….

Then, solid, candy colored coats descended the runway in simple silhouettes, featuring the ever present black swan motif in buttons, and… ornately framed screens playing cartoons?!?!?!? I assumed that they were clear pocket for a smartphone, and after scoping the designer’s instagram, it turns out I was right! 

And then there was Bosch! The infamous “Garden of Earthly Delights” tryptic was printed all over a series of skirts, tops, dresses… THE SHOES!! And in what was one of the greatest displays of concept to creation: the pink formations in Bosch’s piece were brought to life in the jewelry and other accessories. The girls were living art head to toe. Art depicting the journey the girls were taking. The leaving behind of innocence and succumbing to life’s more carnal pleasures and the decadence around you. For a more in depth study of the painting, I implore you to revisit Rachel’s beautiful post on the Bosch Dr. Martens.

Speaking of accessories, I’d be remiss not to mention the show’s “it” bag. Cherry shaped minaudière suspended from brass knuckles. Give it!

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For the finale, there was a series of exquisite feathered looks, complete with over the top feathered masks. The leather jackets also a sign of rebellion. It was stunning and almost scary, and it paved the way for the final walk, when the girls returned to the runway clad entirely in beautiful black pieces with black wings outstretched behind them, conveying the end of their journey, and their complete transition into the dark side.

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Hey, if your descent into darkness guaranteed you a fantasy wardrobe by a mad genius, could you resist the temptation?

(images via Style.com and Fashionizing.com (detail shots))

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