Subversive with more performance act than runway show, Jun Takahashi of Undercover did the absolute most for the F/W 2017 season, which was held at the historic Salle Wagram theatre space in Paris.
Takahashi said backstage that, “in an ideal world, everyone would be equal,” naming the collection Utopie: But Beautiful III. An exploration of the different ‘sects’ and varying statuses that society has created over time, in the most subtle way imaginable, the goal for Undercover was to see the harmony of different species living together. The question of what it means to be different on the outside, but still the same on the inside was one worth tinkering throughout the show. Of course with everything thats happening in the world right now (any political is now the new trend), it was an interesting theatrical performance of looking at a new, stronger and wiser society for the future.
10 different sects were created for this collection in Takahashi’s mind, with the show notes explaining that there were species that varied from aristocracy, wardens, soldiers, rebels, nomads, clergy, agitators, choir, new species and the monarchy. Everything would come into place as the collection proceeded with the varying sects coming out in their notable looks. A big consideration to have taken in for these new species was that they were all suspiciously- crossed with insects, it may have been an obvious indicator to some with the printed designs on sweaters and coats.
As models came down the runway, they transformed from being just humans to creatures of an otherworldly creation. There were models who came out in chunky knit gowns with elaborate textures and volumes, while others appeared in army-inspired ponchos and fur sleeves with un-comforting layers. Tapestry skirts, puffer jackets, silk capes and even the odd gown (for the monarchy sect) was apart of the world of Undercover. In an openminded sense, the gowns with their paper-crafted texture and balling silhouette, would be an interesting look for a red-carpet event, but would require someone with an artistic mind to really show off the value of its form. As these strange and foreign looks came to the floor one by one with their own personalities (some danced, some wisped around the floor, others gestured to the audience), they were accompanied by a custom Thom Yorke soundtrack. Indeed it wouldn’t be an Undercover show without something that’s unsettling and unknown, combined with something as well known as an associating act with the front man of Radiohead.
“Although there may be queens and princess, everyone is equal,” Takahashi stated, “no different colours, no different anything.”
True to his word, the colour palette for this collection proceeded with everything ranging from a bright fuchsia to the darkest black, with every look complimenting another in the collection as if to say – all colours are for everyone, no matter who or where you be may. There was a sense of equilibrium, where one model would come out from head to toe in red with a veil covering her face, to the next in a multitude of earth colours with pseudo-horns as a headpiece, it was a nice flow to the looks, in the way that a theatrical show would go with the Acts. There was an element of punk to it too, however more elegant and rundown (as if it continues to run through his veins as a lifeline, of course one would expect it from the designer.)
As per usual, Takahashi served up a bemused idea of what it means to look into the future when it’s so critical for the present.
Could it also be coincidence that this happened just as seven new planets were discovered?