On the occasion of Tokyo Fashion Week, Jun Takahashi presented UNDERCOVER‘s Fall/Winter 2021 collection with a fashion show that gave continuity to the long series of pop culture references that have become a distinctive feature of his brand founded in 1993.
Entitled “Creep Very”, a reference to the wonderful song by Radiohead “Creep” contained in “Pablo Honey” from 1993 and which provided the backdrop to the female part of the show in an obsessive version rearranged for the occasion by Tom York, the collection is a mirror on the emotions we feel in this period of uncertainty, also embodied by the expressions of the models who walked the runway.
“The theme is of a person who is frail and weak but has a truly pure heart. I was expressing the worries and anxieties that individuals carry every day and the hope of what lies ahead. It probably doesn’t seem to directly link to clothing design, but I wanted to put the complicated emotional state of society into a physical form. This is what I considered while designing”, Takahashi stated to Vogue.
This motif of fragility and weakness, but which is compensated for by purity of heart, is also expressed through collaboration with Neon Genesis Evangelion – a twenty-six-episode television anime series from 1995 produced by the Gainax studio and conceived, scripted and directed by Hideaki Anno.
Despite the fact that the basic series is the classic story of young high school students who drive large humanoid robots (mecha) – called Evangelion Units or EVA – against hostile and apparently non-terrestrial beings – the Angels in the series – the anime is characterized by the presence of numerous Kabbalistic, Hebrew and biblical references, as well as by a deep psychological introspection of the characters, making it a reference point for the entire world of Japanese animation.
The protagonist is Shinji Ikari, a fourteen-year-old boy, apparently weak and insecure, but thanks to his purity of spirit he will be able to pilot EVA 01 – the robot destined for him – and lead the human race to battle against enemy forces in a post-apocalyptic world.
The references to Anno’s anime are very evident, in the down jackets, black parkas, coats, bomber jackets and jackets featuring prints depicting the anime characters and their robotic alter-egos. Also stand out the headgear that perfectly reflects the features of the Evangelion units.
In UNDERCOVER’s FW21 collection, Jun Takahashi in a way wanted to offset the most negative emotions of this period with tender and romantic details, easily recognizable in the garments of the women’s collection. Couture elements and casual pieces inspired by the dark and twisted works of Swedish artist Markus Åkesson, which inspired many of the prints in the collection.
“t is the hope we have for what lies ahead of our daily worries and anxieties,” said Takahashi in a statement about the collection. “It is a worldview created for those individuals in today’s society that live each and every day with constant conflicting emotions. It’s a different perspective from that of clothing design, but it would be an honor to have you feel and understand this.”.
Below are all the looks from UNDERCOVER’s Fall/Winter 2021 runway show.