Hideaki Yoshihara and Yukiko Ode established the codes of their brand early, and with each season they build on that foundation. It goes without saying that a HYKE show will be sleek, chic, and filled with references to vintage military uniforms. Such consistency of vision can make even the smallest of changes feel profound; such is the case with the duo’s latest collection. Fair Isle sweaters, spectacles, and a splash of red don’t scream reinvention, but it’s doubtful that masters of subtlety like Yoshihara and Ode would ever want their work to shout.
Workwear served as fall’s focus, namely the old school uniforms that were once the norm for outdoorsy professions. “The red actually comes from rural American workwear of the ’40s and ’50s,” explained Ode. “Often, it was produced by Woolrich or Filson, so we took those colors and incorporated them into the collection.” That rustic touch proved incredibly versatile. The classic crimson and black Woolrich plaid was stripped down to bare bones, then used to detail cardigans and floor-grazing overcoats. HYKE delivered its own version of tartan, a taupe and scarlet hybrid that featured on asymmetrical capes, a puff-sleeved prairie dress, and more. From afar, the pattern seemed traditional, but a quick zoom-in revealed the artful way the designers mixed its grids of color using squares for the top of a dress, then a maze of rhombuses at the bottom.
Fabrication is an area in which Yoshihara and Ode excel; the ability to find and utilize unexpected materials is part of HYKE’s charm. This season an ultra-suede typically used for couches and car interiors found its way onto dresses and minimalist overcoats with curved shoulders. Chosen for its ability to hold shape, the material added new verve to familiar silhouettes. Likewise, Pertex, an English cousin of GORE-TEX with a softer, more pliable feel, gave the tech fabric segment a touch of delicacy. “It has the functionality of outdoor performance gear, but it works well with our designs,” said Ode. “We’re interested in using these new fabrications, but in a way that can be feminine.” The season’s knits were compelling, with a Fair Isle-esque motif featuring on multiple pieces. Khaki, cream, and black, it skewed graphic instead of classic, especially on a chunky knit jumper worn by model turned jewelry designer Marland Backus.
When it came time to present the collection, Yoshihara and Ode went with a video format in light of the continued COVID-19 health regulations and filled their cast with brainy beauties decked out in their collaboration with Julius Tart Optical. Despite the many subtle changes, the duo felt it was important to create something akin to the vibe of their usual Tokyo Fashion Week shows. While there’s no doubt their audience would have enjoyed an in-person introduction to their latest wares, the offering’s strength came through regardless.