Izumi Hongo’s brand, Van Hongo, continues to amaze. I am terribly late in talking about Spring/Summer 2012 collection (and let’s be honest here, I’m so much more in love with Fall and Winter clothing), but better late than never. Previous reviews can be found here and here.
First, the summer and spring clothing of Intimate Luncheon look both lightweight and substantial due to clever use of texture — something Hongo definitely excels at. From photographs alone, one can recognize heavy silks, textured linens, and chiffons juxtaposed with denser, draped fabrics.
The palette is heavy in creams, greys, and acid yellows and greens — something Hongo gravitates to. This collection seems especially pared down in color and the silhouettes are also tending to more classically feminine — shifts, crossover tops, floaty skirts predominate, with an occasional tapered trouser thrown in. It of course fits the name: with all Hongo’s collections, a name alone strikes you as fanciful, but then you look at clothes and go, “of course”. “Luncheon” evokes the image of traditional femininity, ladylike and classic; the intimate part strips away the formality — pearls and hats and gloves, leaving simplicity clad in contrasting textures, familiar and yet delightfully new.
A/W collection, Recording Room, is as similar to her previous Salonniere as it is different — the palette of purples and mustards is familiar, as well as pleated trousers and spiderwebby knits. However, she also shows more simplicity in shapes and textures: no more velvet or kite-back shirts, but again the simple silhouettes. The most noteworthy addition perhaps are the simple, long sleeved shifts, straight and basic, devoid of any elaborations but the exquisite, cashmere-like drape.
There are some flourishes on a few of the pieces — a scattering of sparkle against the inky-violet dress or a blouse, an occasional origami pleat on a skirt — but those too read as restrained. There are exquisitely cut coats that evoke Jil Sander with its luxurious minimalism, and woolen, snuggly pleated skirts. And of course, there is a piano pictured in some of the lookbook shots — it is, after all, a recording room.
The connection in this one is perhaps more oblique than in Intimate Luncheon — but the sense of melancholy, of the autumn sun struggling to come through the wooden slats of the walls and bursting in through the cracked door is fitting perfectly with the artist’s wardrobe; or rather, a fantasy about the artist, a stylized tableau meant to evoke an ideal, an ur-musician of many daydreams. Her clothes are luxurious and interesting all at once. The interest, as always, is generated primarily by textures, and I am glad to see so many simplified cuts that still fully embody Hongo’s esthetic. And yet there are still enough architecture in these minimal pieces to make them true standouts. Just look at the long knits, not quite cloaks, not quite shawls, or at the carefully crumpled button up shirt.
So yeah, still waiting for the day these will show up in my local boutiques. For now I will have to write gushy reviews.