After a fashion

Hiromichi Nakano made bold bloodstains out of oversized rose prints

From stripes to florals, Mayumi Saito tracks spring trends from the runways to the streets

Last November, vernal vestments to see us through to fall were on parade during Tokyo Collections Spring/Summer 2001. As keen followers of fashion we took to the roadways, rather than the runways, to see which looks are taking Tokyoites by storm and which are just damp April showers.

Flower power and citrus twists
Spring wouldn' be spring without blooming buds, and both couture and street-styles have gone full on floral this year. Kikuko Maki at Garde Collective led with delicate lace blouses with floral patchwork, while Yukiko Hanai showed ultra-feminine short floral dresses. In contrast Hiromichi Nakano used dramatic oversized scarlet tea-roses that exploded like bloodstains on simple white blouses and full skirts. Flowers were not just the prerogative of women's wear-floral men's pants headed down the catwalks at Keita Maruyama's show. Petal-prints dominate the high street this season, ranging from tiny rosebud-print skirts to bold monochrome blooms.

On the street, stripes rule (JY11,000, Beams)
Florals have been quick to make it off the catwalks and onto the streets (JY14,000, store unknown)

Naoki Takizawa assaulted the senses with abundant neon in his collections for Issey Miyake, which took the form of acid orange, aqua, pink and green polka dot skirts covered by sheer aprons and ostrich feather scarves. Voluminous tulle stuffed with day-glo shreds completed his fluorescent women's couture line. Citrus stripes of hard lemon and lime formed the basis of Takizawa's menswear line, which also included checked highlighter-pen aqua and orange shorts with pencil-case pockets.

Martial law
Designers in Tokyo didn't seem to have the same passion for military wear and safari suits as their New York and Parisian colleagues, although the I.S. Sunao Kuwahara collection contained button-down martial suits. Kuwahara presented the suits in both a starched, brand-new look and a worn-in alternative complete with wrinkles and loose ends, which was surprisingly beautiful. Further inspiration from uniforms was evident in Keita Maruyama's collection, which playfully toyed with flight-attendant uniforms-showing the short skirts and jackets with scarves and carry-on handbags.

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Keita Maruyama urged us to go for strong, cheeky stripes - make sure you've got that bold belt too Miyake showed bold neons that transfer to the street as day-glo Ts and striking skirts

Wide belts are a must for streetwear this spring - the bigger the better (store and price unknown)

While khaki and sand are already staple colors on the street, safari-suit styles are set to grow. Expect to see variations on the theme in primary colors as well as the standards, as belted, fitted jackets make their mark. And camouflage is even more pervasive than ever for both sexes-everything from hardcore street and skater looks to pastels, fitted blouses, chiffon and capris now come in camo. Comme Ça Collection men's line created a camouflage effect with detailed foliage ribbon prints on pants teamed with simple back vests, while Keita Maruyama turned things around putting camo shirts over pink floral pants-showing that the military look can be dressed up too.

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Loose monochrome from Y's B Limi is easily mimicked for a stylish, simple look

Check in
Crisscrossing lines are the mainstay of the menswear collections this spring. Comme Ça Collection led the way with plaid shirts peeking out from checked suits in natural colors, while ATO presented suits with narrow lapels and tartan or geometric-patterned pants. Kohshin Satoh opted for large cross logos on sweaters and wide checks on pants, and Miyake applied his fluorescent palette to fine cross-hatches for men and houndstooth capris teamed with metallic tank tops for women.

Stripes, bold or skinny, also cropped up in almost every collection - everything from Keita Maruyama's particularly cheeky lollypop blouses to Hanae Mori's thick black stripes to Hiromichi Nakano, who connected monochrome lines with delicate laces and frills.

Camouflage from Comme ça Collection - military prints are all over town in every form imaginable
Watch out for street versions of Maruyama's trolley-dolly ensemble - uniform chic is already a vernal vogue for Tokyo

Belt up
The hottest items to hug haunches this spring are wide belts-hole-punched leather and circular buckles slung low on the hips are emphasizing waistlines on and off the catwalks. Primopalazzo Novespazio's Noboru Yamafuji bound sexy, monochrome outfits with metallic mesh belts, while Limi Yamamoto at Y's bis Limi showed her loose black-and-white ensembles-a definite nod to dad Yohji Yamamoto-with heavy-duty belts for a street-smart look.

Harajuku La Foret's floor manager Kei Okuda predicts hips will get further attention as sales of low-riding jeans soar. Top them off with low-slung sashes or chunky retro belts. Other blasts from the past include boat-neck T-shirts and heart motifs-fortunately, the Tokyo Collections seem to have been spared some of the trashiness of the '80s revival that dominated the European and New York catwalks.

The word from the street seems to be mix and match, picking from the various trends that the designers showcased. Garde Collective demonstrated that mixing off-the-shoulder floral, camouflage and Burberry-esque checks can work-so all that remains is for followers of fashion to create their own spring sensations.

Hip list
Ten hot looks for spring and summer

Off the shoulder - think Gladiator and slipping togas or '80s boat-necks
Black and white
Wide belts - low slung sashes and chunky leather
Uniforms - urban warriors in camo, stewardess jackets or safari suits
Stripes and polka dots
Checks - chunky plaid to fine houndstooth
Low-rider jeans

Stripes are "it" this spring and in B&W they're all the trendier, as Hiromichi Nakano proves Primopalazzo Novespazio combined off-the-shoulder chiffon with metallic belts, a look that's sure to catch on as the mercury soars. Garde Collective showed chiffon blouses with delicate florals that are surefire summer hits



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