by LUKE LEITCH
Berets off to Mihara Yasuhiro for zeroing on the question of the moment. “I look around now and see all the young people who are scared about President Trump and what that will mean,” the designer said before this show.
Contemplating this contemporary fear led Yasuhiro back to perhaps the last great American uprising against entrenched forces of conservatism and prejudice: the 1960s. Thus those soft wool berets, the dissenting headgear of choice for Black Panthers and Che-inspired Marxist agitators.
The show was held in the fern-strewn brutalist oasis of the Barbican Conservatory, through which prowled a first wave of black-clad dissenters in a layered uniform of bikers, sweaters, and loose pants. Rusty russet, then aubergine, blue, and green looks—this was a collection of top to toe color—broke the black stranglehold via outfits for both men and women topped with volumized off-kilter outerwear in Alcantara or high-shine leather. Suiting in earthy brown or that aubergine featured unexpected extra pockets and frayed hem detailing. Micro-check ensembles of tailcoats over long long-shirts came with hidden self-care instructions inside, which read: “Have Fortitude. Never bend your head. Always hold it high.”
Compared to many of his collections, this was pared down, almost bare. Yasuhiro said in his rather wonderful way that the whole collection was a forest whose each tree should bear scrutiny for its detail rather than its decoration. At the end, though, expression blossomed. On long coats of mesh was etched THIS IS TOMORROW in colored fur across the back and in an arc across the arms. Accompanied by the beautiful singing of Maïa Barouh and the leather and nut clacking percussion of Leo Komazawa this was a lovely, stirring show to watch.