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The countries of Japan and Austria are currently celebrating 140 years of diplomatic relations between one another and decided to fete their international friendship on the runway at Japan Fashion Week. To that end, government-backed organizations and corporations from both countries staged a special show Thursday featuring young designers' fresh takes on Japanese and Austrian traditional dress and fabrics.
Highlights of the event, entitled "Dirndl Meets Kimono", included Austrian designer Susanne Bisovsky's modern and sexy reworking of typical Tyrolean costumes replete with lace, tulle and rhinestones. But the key component of the show consisted of a cultural exchange of sorts. Four Japanese designers used traditional Austrian dirndl fabrics to create modern, inventive looks, while the Austrians used kimono fabrics to do the same.
On the Japanese side, Kila went for a very contemporary look with above-the-knee skirts, cropped trousers, chiffon tunics, geometric colorblock leggings and a strapless baby-doll top in bright reds, greens and blues. Hisui, which showed its spring collection in Tokyo a day earlier, gave the clothes quirky twists via clusters of fabric-covered pompoms and uneven hemlines.
Austrian Sophie Skach incorporated unusual details into her kimonos like knit collars and cuffs and styled her designs with sequined and printed leggings. Gina Drewes created mini kimonos and skirts of shredded silk. She ended on a dramatic note: a flowing gown with long kimono sleeves paired with a wide obi belt and a large silk cherry blossom attached at the back, giving the illusion of butterfly wings.