The fan-boy situation in fashion is endlessly mesmerizing. Marc, Raf, Hedi—all these grown men given huge resources to flex their adolescent fascinations. But king of the hill is Undercover‘s Jun Takahashi, because his fandom couples with what seems to be a natural Japanese impulse toward the curatorial. So he will latch on to one arcane enthusiasm, exploit it to the max, and, in the process, create an extraordinary cultural artifact.
The most extraordinary was Takahashi’s book on Westwood-McLaren’s label Seditionaries. It’s so hard to find that it has attained the status of urban myth. And that glorious period—the heyday of punk in London—seemed to be his prime inspiration for a long time, even as he took side trips into The Jesus and Mary Chain and Krautrockers. But for Spring 2015, Takahashi said he’d made a leap, from the overt fabulosity of punk London to the “inner life” of punk New York, specifically the band Television, whose main man Tom Verlaine was responsible for a spidery, spiraling form of guitar music that grows in stature as the decades wear on.
In an odd way, the fiercely antifashion Television loaned themselves to the revisionism of a designer like Takahashi. He used the starkness of their two album sleeves as an intensely visual graphic, and the cryptic poetry of their lyrics as running motifs across and around items of clothing. There was so much more—the plaid-printed biker jacket and the cable-printed coat being two examples—but the peculiar combination of Verlaine’s elliptical presentation and Takahashi’s bold reinterpretation created the entrancing prospect of Takahashites around the world greeting the day in the sleeve of Adventure, Television’s second album. Takahashi’s passion for music is such that all he wants to do is convert people to his cause. Seeing that Television is the current cause, can we recommend the tracks “Friction” and “Foxhole” as starting points? Then you may stand converted.