Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The present phenomenon

Something like a phenomenon, something like a phenomenon, something like a...

For the last few weeks I have found myself humming along to one of LL Cool J's classic anthems. The reason for this unusual phenomena lies solely on the shoulders of one Susie Bubble. After returning from a brief stint in Paris she introduced me to a previously seen but unregistered Japanese label, Phenomenon. Established in 2004 by Takeshi Osumi (or BIG-O to his friends) as the more hi end branch and upscale brother of Swagger, Phenomenon has always been something of a cult streetwear brand that purports to fuse elements of American hip hop with that of the most enviable Japanese men's street style. The label has continually showcased a wide spectrum of intricate patterns, cuts, and overall quite out there and wild themes. A definite trademark of the brand since its inception has been to experiment and push boundaries.

For AW10, along with the customary design we also see a growth, as the label takes on a more mature designer approach as opposed to the strictly streetwear designs usually previewed. You don't have to take my word for it though, take a look at the below show images from Fashion Snap...

All show images from Fashion Snap

The season also saw the label have their first show at Japan Fashion Week (show video below) where it was met with big expectations and big praise from attendees and the subsequent blogosphere exclamations...

The balance between the theatre of the show and the wearability of the collection might be awry for some but not for this blogger. Despite being proudly on the dramatic side of the fence with its hyper styling, the collection is bursting with lust worthy pieces, wearable yet interesting. This is a collection that celebrates texture, protection, layering with a focus on rich fabrics and silhouette experimentation. It is exactly how I long to dress for the chillier months.

The Dungaree shirt from Phenomenon

As I mentioned in the first opening paragraph I had seen a few stories on Phenomenon but had not investigated the label in any way. Susie changed all that after a visit to Paris where she picked up the above denim shirt from Pigalle. What better way to acquaint myself with a brand than to wear it. I wish all of my introduction involved a present...

A close up look at the fringe detailing.

I'm under no illusions that this is a gift for Susie masquerading a gift for me because she has since worn in a few times. However, there will quite a few occasions where I'll steal this back off of her. I have to confess that initially, I was initially put off by the fringe detailing but then all that changed and I began to dream up a myriad of ways to wear it. Both of us has since mined through the offerings of the label in their very useful product drop blog (other stores/brands should definitely take note) and the vast majority of the pieces are undoubtedly far more evolved than the tee/trainer/jean boundaries of most street wear labels. Despite their being a good number of pieces that grabbed my attention, I can happily declare that Susie bought extremely well.

Dungaree shirt from Phenomenon worn with a heavy knit Maison Martin Margiela jumper, Unconditional wrap trousers and Kudu boots by Lodger.

After making the most of the glorious summer, I have now grown tired of the heat and sweat of life in the capital during the throes of this sticky, stinky season. I long for autumn. The mornings where I can layer and wrap myself up in a bounty of wool, tweed, cashmere and anything else I can get my hands on. This shirt will add yet one more texture. So despite BBC Weather recording temperatures of 24 degrees this morning I had to road test one of my dreamed up looks. I'm looking forward to styling up a few more as soon as I welcome in autumn.

A close up of the textures. Roll on autumn...

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