FLORENCE, Italy — The guest designers at the next edition of Pitti Uomo will be Undercover by Jun Takahashi and Takahiro Miyashita The Soloist, two of the brightest stars of Japan’s fashion avant-garde. Takahashi and Miyashita, both known for a twisted take on youthful romanticism, will present back-to-back menswear shows at the biannual menswear tradeshow in Florence on January 11, 2018.
While Takahashi shows his womenswear during Paris Fashion Week, he has presented menswear on the runway only once before, back in 2009, also at Pitti Uomo. And while Miyashita’s shows for his first label, Number (N)ine, were a must-see on the Paris men’s calendar, he has never shown Takahiro Miyashita The Soloist on the runway outside Japan.
“Both Miyashita and I desired to challenge the fashion industry on a worldwide level. To fulfill such desires, Tokyo alone wasn’t satisfactory,” explains Takahashi.
Takahashi and Miyashita have been close friends since the late 1990s. They met when Miyashita began showing his clothes in Tokyo. And just as Comme des Garçons creator Rei Kawakubo spotted Takahashi’s talent early on, Takahashi knew he was witnessing the birth of something special when he first met Miyashita.
“Jun called my office one day and asked to see my collection,” recalls Miyashita. “I was nervous, because Jun was already accomplished, and I was just starting out. He had formal design training and I did not. The day after he called me and invited me for a drink, and we have been friends ever since.”
“I think we both have similar ways of thinking,” Miyashita continues. “Jun likes the feminine and the beautiful, but with a dark side that is sometimes scary. I also have a romantic and beautiful side that is tinged with darkness. I think we like the opposites — scary/funny, pretty/dark.”
“Taka is one of a few designers who always has music underlying his work, and he constantly thinks about clothes and what originality means. His clothes have this originality, which can only be expressed uniquely by him,” adds Takahashi.
“Undercover will be back in Florence after nearly nine years, along with Takahiro Miyashita The Soloist,” says Lapo Cianchi, the director of communications and events for Pitti Immagine, the group that runs Pitti Uomo. "For the first time ever these two visionary Japanese designers will stage back-to-back shows that will serve as a symbolic expression of their friendship and the mutual respect for one another’s work. I truly hope that once again Florence will prove to be an original source of inspiration for them.”
In June 2017, Pitti attracted over 19,400 buyers, and over 1,200 exhibitors, including Brunello Cucinelli, Levi’s and United Arrows. While the majority of buyers still come from Italy, foreign attendees make up more than 42 percent of the crowd and include buyers from the US, Japan and other markets.