PARIS, Mar 24, 2009 / FW/ — In Japan, when Toshikazu Iwaya burst into the Tokyo fashion scene in 2005, he was called Japan’s answer to Alexander McQueen. Though it is a compliment to the highest degree, it was also a bit unfair to Iwaya because for all intent and purposes, the Japanese designer has his own style and aesthetics that is very different from the famed British designer.
Debuting on the Paris runway last Spring 2009, Toshikazu Iwaya more than lived up to expectations, hence though his show last Mar 12 was right after Louis Vuitton, the Hotel Westin salon where he unveiled his collection was filled more than its capacity as Dress 33’s ever growing fans attended the show.
In a collection that is cryptically entitled Elizabeth or Spain, Iwaya took elements from Elizabethan England (1558–1603) and the height of the Spanish Empire (1521–1643), wherein both periods are considered the Golden Age in English history and the Golden Age of Spain, respectively.
Hence it was not surprising when Toshikazu Iwaya sent out dresses with Elizabethan collars and men shirts that were inspired by the Spanish conquistador uniform. But, wait a minute… it’s not really that simple. The Elizabethan collars were proposed as micro accordion pleats peeking from a collarless fur coat while the Spanish conquistador body armor was made into a fur tunic worn under B&W striped outer coat.
Kabuki Theater make up, elaborate hats, fencing masks for men and wraparound sunglasses for women that cover the upper half of their faces, there is also that sci-fi / fantasy element in the collection. But wait again… this is not a Connecticut Yankee in King’s Arthur Court, it is Toshikazu Iwaya’s blending of two golden ages that became a golden collection for Fall 2009.
Photos by FW