The design team behind HARE is used to ignoring the rules. Each season the brand discards the template of the one that preceded it, opting to start (mostly) fresh and play with a new set of variables. That freedom has led to seasons filled with Ukiyo-e art-inspired sweaters or mix-and-match block cut prints, but this time around, the focus was on folds. Pleats are a motif steeped in culture and history, particularly within the context of Tokyo Fashion Week.
It would be easy to compare the intricate tucks and creases that covered tunics and wide-legged trousers at HARE to origami or the work of the Japanese master Issey Miyake, but that would do them a disservice. The similarities are clear, but the intentions feel different. Stripped of notions about gender and decidedly informal in their presentation, they seem developed, especially for Generation-Z. The kids who’ve filled their smartphones with pictures of old-school runway photos but have yet to dip their toes into the increasingly competitive vintage market. If you can’t track down that late ’90s archival piece, HARE’s pin-tucked and pleated separates could sate the urge.
Homage is nice, but as the collection moved away from the familiar, it grew more interesting. The segments that really gelled were interspersed with offbeat colors. Who (besides Consuelo Castiglioni) knew that mauve and mustard could be neutrals when splashed against each other on an abstract sweater dress worn with matching tights, or that plum brocade could be appealing with nary a Prince album in sight. These quirkier looks felt spirited and fun, as did a tactile set of handbags that called to mind plush toys. Still, one couldn’t help but wish these quirky moments had been amplified into something that didn’t trigger nostalgia.