Jun Takahashi’s Undercover embodies the quintessence of Japanese cool, channeling raw edged rebellion and dramatic high-concept elegance to produce an inimitable auteur vision that fascinates in its dualities. 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 quickly found support and mentorship from Comme des Garçons icon Rei Kawakubo. Indeed, he convincingly broke through the streetwear-couture divide many years before luxury-casual hit the mainstream. Operating beneath the maxim “We Make Noise Not Clothes”, Takahashi’s menswear continues to enchant in its wit and rebellion, dissolving binaries like high/low, avant-garde/utiltarian, and macabre/beautiful in unexpected unions of materials, colors, and cuts. Deconstructive tailoring and hybridized detailing impart a sense of precariousness, chaos, resolve, and peace at once, offering men an uncommonly deep, philosophical take on urban style. Taken at a distance, Undercover’s oeuvre generates a coherent yet surrealist universe, one which Takahashi presides over and continues to expand one collection at a time.
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