SEE PHOTOS: Uniqlo's collaboration with Jil Sander is over but will the new deal with Undercover be as good?
Everyone who knows me knows I have an ongoing love affair with Uniqlo, and more specifically with its soon-to-be-ended +J collection – the collaboration between the Japanese high street brand and designer Jil Sander (the person; not the brand).
All you need do is read any of my gushing reviews of the various +J collections – Sculptured lines meet fluid grace, Something special for summer, Sharp cuts, quality fabric – to see just how much I appreciated being able to buy thoughtfully designed, well-made, reasonably priced clothes.
So, you can imagine my distress when I heard the horrible news that the Autumn Winter 2011 +J collection will be the last. I think I actually cried at my desk!
Now Uniqlo has announced that its next long-term collaboration will be with Japanese designer Jun Takahashi’s Undercover label.
“The collaboration pieces with Undercover are slated to be launched in Spring 2012, with the opening of the flagship store in Ginza, Tokyo,” said an Uniqlo press release.
“We have approved undercover about six months ago. To make “Truly great clothing” which Uniqlo is constantly striving for, we are very open to collaborate with external partners. By collaborating with talented individuals and companies all over the world, we believe we can create new value for the customers.”
So, who is Jun Takahashi? And what is Undercover like?
I rushed off to surf the net, knowing that I recognised the name as being one of Japan’s top fashion designers – one of the few Japan-based designers who shows at Paris fashion week – and discovered that maybe my depression over the demise of +J will be lifted.
Undercover by Jun Takahashi AW2011 collection. Images: Showbit
As you can see from the images, Undercover is a distinctly “Japanese” label, but under the catwalk styling there is some great tailoring, lots of texture and great shoes.
Undercover’s Spring Summer 2011 collection, entitled “Underman”, was less bulky with fewer textures, more graphic prints on cute skirt-suits and had great chunky heeled shoes.
Interestingly, the model used for Undercover’s AW2010 collection was what you could definitely call “mature” and the clothes suited that age group as well.
Takahashi’s clothes are traditional womenswear with a subversive edge; motorcycle jackets with zips that go nowhere and open nothing, tailored coats in fuzzy felt, anoraks in chiffon and metallic skirts that are soft to the touch. All of which bodes well for the Uniqlo collaboration.
Dare I get excited? Will Undercover X Uniqlo be able to sate my cult high street collab appetite? I hope so.
Mind you, watch out when that last +J collection arrives in store – I’m buying the lot!
Were you devastated to hear about the last +J collection? What do you think of the new collaboration with Undercover? Leave your comments below.