Onitsuka Tiger’s latest collection is all about the art of layering
Andrea Pompilio’s latest Onitsuka Tiger collection saw a focus on layering which looked back to the sportswear brand’s Japanese roots
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A vast billboard, printed in the brand’s signature yellow and black, hung in the entranceway to the Onitsuka Tiger A/W 2023 show held in a Milanese gallery during Milan Fashion Week A/W 2023. It briefly elucidated the Japanese sportswear brand’s history, which began in 1949 with ‘the intent of revitalising the nation’s youth through the spirit of endeavour,’ as the sign read, ‘creating the brand, which perfectly captures the modern spirit of stamping individual style over rigid rules, made Kihachiro Onitsuka a true visionary’.
The Italian designer Andrea Pompilio, who has chosen Milan to show his seasonal collections for the brand since 2021, encapsulates these founding principles with a honed vision that favours the creation of a refined wardrobe for all facets of life over more typical, logo-heavy sportswear. Case in point, the collection’s opening four looks, a series of gently oversized tailoring and double-breasted overcoats, the sense of sportswear captured only in their sense of ease (the men’s and women’s suits, for example, had trousers cut with the expansiveness of sweat pants).
Onitsuka Tiger A/W 2023 runway
Pompilio said that this season he was thinking about the idea of ‘urban layering’, tracing a link to the brand’s roots with an exploration of the kimono – albeit reimagined in the designer’s minimal style. ‘Dressing in layers is a central part of Japanese culture,’ said Onitsuka Tiger of the collection. ‘The act of wearing a kimono is part of a ritual performed by superimposing garments of different weights, from the very light underwear to the actual kimono, which are then closed by a wide belt.’
As such, the collection’s looks often began with a slick-to-the-body base layer – reminiscent of traditional underwear, like the long john – over which various garments were layered for a deft play on proportion. Take a vast padded overcoat, made in collaboration with Zanter, a pioneering down wear brand from Japan which has been in business since 1956 (befitting Onitsuka Tiger’s roots in performance-wear, Zanter’s jackets have outfitted Antarctic explorers since the brand’s conception). Others looks had a feeling of elegance: a subtly sheer chiffon shirt dress worn over a black body suit, cocooning nylon overcoats, and continuing riffs on oversized tailoring in soft shades of grey (‘another fashionable excellence from Japan’, said the brand in reference to the plays on the suit).
Footwear – for which the brand is perhaps best known, its iconic Mexico 66 sneaker currently having a street style resurgence – spanned leather boots and chunky sneakers with futuristic moulded soles. The latter were emblazoned with a new logo, which sees ‘Onitsuka Tiger’ written in a bold font in signature yellow and black – a symbolic expression of Onitsuka Tiger’s continuing evolution, over 70 years since its founding.
onitsukatiger.com (opens in new tab)
Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.
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