Jun Takahashi’s Undercover stands as shorthand for Japanese cool, channeling restless urban energy and dramatic high-concept elegance into an inimitable auteur vision, one that fascinates through apparent contradictions. Takahashi founded his long-lauded label in 1993 on the way to graduating from Tokyo's Bunka Academy of Fashion, breaking the unwritten “apprenticeship first” rule for young Japanese designers. Such irreverence and restless energy carried his early punk-inflected work, which benefited from the mentorship of Comme des Garçons icon Rei Kawakubo. A quarter-century later Takashi’s contemporary design world remains defined by wit and rebellion, offering women unexpected unions of materials, colors, and cuts. Under his philosophically-inclined direction, seemingly disparate tops, trousers, jackets, and sneakers are convincingly united by a womenswear ethos rooted in deconstructive tailoring, intriguing material detailing and unexpected contrasts. Viewed at a distance, one finds Undercover has constructed a logical yet surrealist design universe all its own, one which Takahashi presides over and continues to expand one collection at a time.
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