Three days before unveiling his spring 2022 collection digitally at Paris Fashion Week, Jun Takahashi took to Instagram. “I want to have a women’s runway show in Paris again. I want to be bold,” he posted. Don’t we all want to be back in Paris! But the good news for us phygital netizens is that however texture-less the release of a look book might feel, Takahashi’s are always among the most thrilling and emotive of the season. His Royal Family of the Basement from spring 2021 remains one of the most poignant, silly, sorrowful ideas from our lockdown era, and he continues to find beauty and passion in isolation for spring 2022.
This year, though, Takahashi is feeling more optimistic. “The light and dark times will come around like waves,” he wrote in an email. “But I do hope for a more stable, peaceful, and brighter future than the current situation.” For spring he pulled optimistic shapes of the ’50s and ’60s—caban coats, full skirts, angelic little dresses—and then tortured them with subversion. Razor blade purses, a sour cherry print, and long surrealist furs and fluffs abound. “I wanted to create a classic ’50s and ’60s vibe, but subvert it slightly, so I decided to go with fabrics I hadn’t used before, such as long-pile faux fur and lamé,” he wrote.
The result is something like Edward Scissorhands: You’re in a beautiful, perfect place…but something sinister bubbles beneath the surface. The blurred, smudged makeup and heavenly palette come from Takahashi’s own watercolor paintings, a newish practice he’s delved deeper into during the past year. “I usually paint in oils. This time I wanted to express the blurred worldview of watercolor painting, so I went ahead and tried,” he wrote. Blurry, elegant, classic, and punk—this collection brings together all the feelings of 2021 into wearable, elegant garments. Even without a catwalk, the intentions of Undercover come across—though we’ll still hope for Paris in 2022.