The designer who changed the meaning of “book-bag” took us on a Japanese inspired journey this season.
PFW: Olympia Le Tan SS16
Japan seems to be a frequent source of inspiration for designers and brands, but Olympia Le Tan – famed for her book covers-come-clutches – had some very precise influences in mind for her SS16 collection. Not just Tokyo, but specifically a recently demolished landmark, the Hotel Okura, was her touchstone this time: Hotel Olympia was even scrawled over a souvenir jacket (which are quickly becoming must-have pieces given their unprecedented appearance on the catwalks). Elsewhere, the hotel’s interior design influenced the collection through certain carpet-worthy motifs and patterns – better than it sounds.
Lurid neon-orange tight were everywhere, perhaps an homage to Tokyo’s luminous, electric glow, as were jackets and trousers with all-over designs that pitched themselves somewhere between the cutey-kooky of contemporary Japan (pencil case worthy kittens) and the old-school Orientalism of ink drawing. A silky kimono – or, indeed, a silky hotel dressing gown – also found itself incorporated into a crossover dress which was shawl-lapelled at the top and belted at the middle for a distinctly luxurious evening vibe.
Elsewhere, long pointy collars and more silkiness ruled supreme on shirts (the pockets of which, like that jacket, were occasionally marked clearly as property of the designer’s imaginary hotel). So much of this shouldn’t have worked. And yet, somehow, it did. Even exceptionally high-waisted trousers with a self-belt in a fabric that could only be described as a near-problematic green worked well in the flesh: a glowing testament to Le Tan’s not inconsiderable talent.
Words: Benji Walters