For Gilles Mendel Spring 2016 the influence of Japonisme travels through the collection of kimono-inspired prints and origami folds.
For day, skirts are short and asymmetric, or ankle skimming and pencil-straight. The outerwear takes a relaxed, sporty approach. Embroidered metallic rings are used as a reoccurring motif, underscoring the tension between femininity and rigor that can be felt throughout the collection. Used to accentuate skirt slits and folds, or repeat yagasuri patterns seen elsewhere, they give even the most delicate of dresses a certain cool-girl attitude.
Lean and controlled, the collection is visually energetic, with a predominance of color and print. Graphic patterns derived from traditional Japanese textiles and wood-block prints are abstracted and hand-drawn, finding expression in textured silk crepe, snakeskin and shifted intarsia fur alike.
As the clothes move into cocktail hour, the prints dissolve into blurred florals and ombré chevrons as the clothes themselves take on an increased sense of delicacy. An Impressionist sensibility to color pervades, with iris blue and jade mixed into a pastel palette of jonquil yellow, cherry blossom and brushstrokes of grey. Black linear accents inspired by Yoshitaka Nakao’s strongly outlined figurative prints bring balance and discipline to the whole, giving definition to dress straps and necklines, and taking the form of stark bandeau tops that feel spare and restrained rather than skimpy.
As evening falls, the tight micro-pleats relax and soften, opening up into a series of asymmetric layered gowns in silk organza before reaching full bloom in a pair of cascading ruffled organza ball skirts.