Undercover Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2013 Paris

When we last left Jun Takahashi nearly two years ago, he had shown a relatively understated collection featuring tailoring and denim. For his return to the catwalks this season, it was more of a celebration. In the hallowed halls of the Sorbonne, the Japanese designer invited his guests –the lineup of fashion faces was quite impressive for an off-schedule show – to attend a masked ball of the vanities.

Titled Anatomycouture, as Takahashi’s translator revealed backstage after the show, his fall-winter collection was a dissection of anatomy of body or cloth, laid bare before it being remade, which he presented in the way of a performance, rather than a runway show. An initial trio of raincoat-clad “guests” arrived, papier-maché masks already in place, the sequin eyes of their outerwear catching the dim light.

And then we were off as they pulled off their coats to reveal short trench coat dresses and the colorful lining of their rain gear. The human anatomy showed up pretty quickly, as skeletal hands embraced the waist of one skirt, little vampire mouthes smiled with every step of another, and on legs it was either ribcage-like gladiator boots, or pumps with ponytails. Sweetly disquieting, Takahashi’s belles of the ball were all in some way displaying their pretty bones: the ribcage featured heavily throughout the collection, turning up as the trim on a Napoleonic inspired jacket, as translucent devoré effects on shirts, as the underlying pattern of ruffles and even as the straps of sweet babydolls embroidered with complete bowels. On a fair number of silhouettes, Takahashi gave the impression of clothing being worn on a different plane, as if the model had burst through some other body to repurpose its outfit.

It was sweet sorrow when the show ended, taking with it Takahashi’s masked beauties, their little clutches – golden apples, a lighted plastic skull or even stuffed cats – and all their finery.  Let's hope we are only parted until next season.

- Lily Templeton