I have to admit that UNDERCOVER's latest womenswear collection, revealed March 9 in Tokyo, didn't immediately grab my eye. Jun Takahashi's womenswear designs are usually more interesting than the menswear line but Fall/Winter 2022 initially looked like a nice, elegant affair that toyed with familiar UNDERCOVER tropes — very nice but not particularly zazzy by my painfully jaded (and usually quite excellent [jk]) standards.
But the most interesting element of Cold Flame, as UNDERCOVER's FW22 collection's called, was actually hidden in plain sight. I missed it upon first glance but a second viewing made the nuttiest part of the collection much more obvious.
A relatively slinky affair, Cold Flame took night-out staples — little black dresses, toss-on fur jackets — and zhushed them up with adjustable gold zippers, razor blade belts, and platform pumps. Cool, sure, but nothing too crazy if you've followed Takahashi for a while.
Those belts — a recurring motif in Cold Flame — immense UNDERCOVER-branded safety pins, and little leather jackets, embellished with intricately beaded appliqué, all spoke to Takahashi's punkish inclinations, a design ethos that's very very very very (very) well established in the biz by now.
Up top, models sported smokey eyes à la Julia Fox and taut hair, making way for the pièces de résistance: gilded earrings, necklaces, and bracelets finished with countless jutting spikes like fancy sea anemones.
These baubles don't just look snappy — they appear to be dangerously pointy.
Which is cool and all in concept, especially if you think of them as a kind of luxe upgrade to the edgy spiked bracelets and chokers worn by so many would-be Misfits members, but give me anxiety upon further review.
I mean, some of these models are one sneeze away from decapitation. Or at least blinding themselves, lest they look down to tie their shoes.
The earrings and bracelets, admittedly, ought to be relatively safe, though I have to wonder if those earrings become medieval flails once the breeze picks up.
If nothing else, you're looking at some kind of very expensive sweet gum seed situation. Ouch!
Is it about time that jewelry got a little dangerous?
As a regular New York subway rider, I very much get the appeal of keep-away accessories — personal space doesn't exist when riding with the MTA.
But at the cost of potentially piercing one's own wrist or cheek? Dunno if that's a worthy trade-off.
Maybe UNDERCOVER will include tiny pin caps with purchase. If not, you could always DIY.