September 13th, 2011 / posted by paularath

Designer Ryota Shiga, age 26.

While much of the world remembered 9/11 yesterday, in Hawaii we were also reminded of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan and left the nation reeling on March 11, 2011.

At Ala Moana Centerstage, Japanese designer Ryota Shiga offered his fall collection in a “Hope for Japan” runway show. Shiga recently moved back to his hometown of Iwaki in Fukushima prefecture, an area that was devastated by the natural disasters.

Each show segment opened with a vignette of the models on the stage, then each model walked the runway.

Shiga’s show was directed by famed runway director Shiro Furukawa. I loved the way he created vignettes with models standing and sitting on the stage for awhile. It enabled the audience to see how the pieces played together, enabling us to get a feeling for what the designer had in mind when he created the collection.

Soft draping allows for elegant flow and movement in Shiga's collection.

While many Japanese designers (Issey Miyake and Junya Watanabe come to mind) create structured, sculptural garments, Shiga’s aesthetic is all about soft draping and layering. 

Shiga's soft, feminine take on the trench was my favorite piece in the show.

Although Shiga employs layering throughout his collection, his looks never appear bulky. There is a little of the sex appeal of a kimono or yukata, unwrapped.

Even the furs are fun and flattering, following curves rather than masking them.

While much of the collection was in neutrals, Shiga clearly is not afraid of color. Love these colors together!

I really wanted to see Shiga’s signature fall print up close. I could’t tell what the motifs were. The fabric looked and acted like cotton but it might have been a linen blend? 

Shiga's furs look so airy the models didn't even seem to be sweltering in them on one of the hottest days of the year.

Many of the garments had ties and wraps to make them more versatile.

Shiga's pants are reminiscent of Japanese fishermen's pants.

A fun way with fur - and asymmetry.

Okay, I understand that Shiga (who, by the way, is only 26 years old) made a big hit in Japan with his shoes. Ugh. I thought they were a distraction and the poor models looked so wobbly and insecure wearing them. I was happy to read a report in the NYTimes that skyscraper heels are on their way out. Perhaps not soon enough for some women who may have already done irreparable damage to their feet. 

I thought the shoes were rather a distraction from the collection.

Director Shiro Furukawa took a bow.

Shiga’s show was followed by some HCC students’ DIY interpretations of the Hope for Japan T-shirt that is currently being sold in a kiosk on the mall level between Chanel and Louis Vuitton. The students cut, sewed, appliqued, ripped and reconstructed the simple crew neck shirts. Here are a few of their creations.

DIY dress from the Hope for Japan T-shirt.

The above was my favorite of the DIY projects, as it achieved the greatest transformation and was, well, the prettiest and most interesting. The student cut bias strips from the T-shirt(s) and created a cute little sundress. Can anyone tell me who did this? I would like to give him or her kudos!

This had ties down the sides which are hard to see in my photo.

– Paula Rath

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