h.NAOTO Fall Collection 2013
On May 25, h.NAOTO showed their fall collection in a short show at the flagship store in Harajuku. The shop staff served as models for the coordinates which featured new looks from NAOTO Seven, GRAMM, and Frill. As customers dressed in gothic finery waited for the show to begin, Naoto himself acted as emcee, speaking about the brand’s origins and history.
When the show started, the first looks to grace the makeshift runway were unisex Seven designs built around the silhouette of tight pants or leggings and billowy multipurpose long cardigans and patterned hoodies. “That’s how much I like hoodies; I keep putting them in there,” Naoto joked as several more came out. Several of the pieces featured designs touched with an unusual bright blue color that, when combined with the black brought to mind Seven’s sister brand, Sixh. Naoto explained that items featuring the color were limited editions—the regular items stayed true to the line’s signature palette of monochromes occasionally splashed with blood-red.
One of the most interesting design points of the fall collection was Naoto’s newest skull series, designed around the skulls of famous queens, their royal finery contrasting with bare bone. The design appeared screen-printed on thin cotton shirts, the meaning behind the pattern not apparent until close inspection. Another theme running through the collection was scorpions embroidered in various places on the garments. Tucked away on pockets or the undersides of sleeves, they added a touch of gothic whimsy and surprise to the pieces.
A very different look came down the runway after the variations of casualwear. With a large black sunhat, elegant shawl, and retro lines, it was a dress ready for a vampire ladies’ luncheon. The dress was followed by a pair of sexy and cute rock looks, with rose patterns and polka dots making the simple cuts stand out.
z8 then took the microphone to show her two fall looks. The first was inspired by GRAMM’s “Angela” character and the model was draped in layers of delicate hand-dyed gray and purple lace. Salmon-colored pantaloons peaked teasingly from underneath the skirt and the next outfit showed that they could be worn on their own as the next model emerged in the pantaloons and a fitted jacket. Strings draped and swung as she walked and z8 explained that most of the outfit was adjustable. This was particularly true of the pantaloons, which could go from short to kneelength with a difference of 20 centimeters.
The next Seven outfit was an elf-like look with a long, teal tunic and graceful vine pattern that was perhaps a bridge between the brands. It was followed by a pair of coordinates that hinted at the brand’s roots of ANARCHY and Dark Red Rum, both making extensive use of safety pins and damaged ribcage slits.
The Frill looks showed that after a run of cute kittens and embroidered tea scenes, the lolita line was ready to go gothic. The coordinates were black on black with crosses stitched in electric blue and hard accessories such as buckled collars. Renaissance style, three-part “princess sleeves” combined length and volume with puffed tops and tight upper portions ending in large bell sleeves.
The finale was a set of lolita and aristocrat looks crafted in what Naoto called “dragon leather,” similar to crocodile skin. The pairing of traditionally soft looks done in hard materials gave the collection a memorable ending. The pieces were limited, however, with only two of each available. After the show, the watchers were invited to take a closer look at the clothes and put their favorites on reserve, or, for the limited items, battle for a chance to take them home with a special card drawing.
Overall, the collection seemed extremely versatile and wearable, and the items that were possibly less so made up for it with visual impact. The fall items will be rolled out starting midsummer, so keep your eyes on the web shop for the debut of these cool items.
There are 39 photos in this visual kei exclusive.