PARIS, France — Life today happens through the screens of our smartphones. Real, live experiences do not count unless you Snapchat, Instagram or Tweet them. Fashion shows are no exception. Indeed, in one of the most annoying side effects of the social media craze, it's often impossible to properly see what's happening on the catwalk, because there is always someone at your side blocking your view with a raised hand and a smartphone.
Yesterday, at the Anrealage show, this state of affairs was somehow twisted and turned upside down: you actually needed to take a picture, with a flash, of each outfit in order to understand its magic. If it all sounds like one of those obsessive and conceptual tricks only the Japanese can pull off, well, it was. But there was a reason: the camera flashes revealed reflective patterns hidden in what, during daylight, looked like plain cotton or simple knitwear.
This is the third Paris season for the brand, designed by Kunihiko Morinaga. Advanced fabric innovation is his forte and, in this sense, there was no shortage of ideas. Yet the play with technology felt like a gimmick that did not deeply affect the core design.The shapes were conceptual to say the least. Playing on the reflection theme, items like shirts and dresses were cleverly constructed to look kaleidoscopic. As a show, it was enjoyable. But one was left craving real life application of these ideas. Without this, innovation is just amusement.