At Undercover, every season brings a fundamental riddle: in which directions will he feel pulled? Jun Takahashi's creation thrives on that tension. Flip this season's coin and there is the choice between what touches us, or wounds us. Translated into clothes, it meant that he explored basic, contemporary silhouettes through a lens hell-bent on complexity. Clear, plastic masks forced the models' faces into insincere and disquieting smiles to go with their exaggeratedly proper wardrobe, hinting that putting an elegant brave face on it was the only way forward.
There was a lot to take in at Undercover. While you were wondering about the artist whose painted faces occupy the surface of a dress - Michaël Borremans, you were missing the sequined knife embroidered on the back of a trench coat. As the show wore on, you had to look closely to see the discrepancies he introduced: a split seam here that opened slacks here, there the decaying hem of a tortoise shell plastic coat, the op-art assembly of a tuxedo elsewhere. Throughout, some primeval horror seemed poised to burst out of backs split like hot cross buns. From there, it was hard to escape the idea that Takahashi had pulled us in the dark depths of the human psyche and how hurt literally splits us apart.
Of course, Takahashi's discourse was delivered with sly perfection. The tailoring is impeccable and the ultra-long sides of his opening look fell perfectly off the sides of the plywood runway. While apparently not as extravagant as other seasons, a heady dose of surrealism saw him imprint trousers on the bottom half of a coat or graduate a hemline geometrically. When satisfied that he'd pointed out the absurdity of pretense, he delivered a finale of classic silhouettes - call them minimalist if you will - bristling with pointy fragments on the surface, with gauze thin tops visibly unmarred. What doesn't kill strengthens, and should you survive that shower of shards, you'd be close to indestructible. Some might even call this a happy end.