SCHOOL UNIFORMS, THE TIMELESS SYMBOL OF BOTH ORTHODOXY AND REBELLION, INFORM AMBUSH AUTUMN-WINTER ’23
Designer Yoon Ahn looked at the school kids thronging the streets of Shibuya, home of AMBUSH®, and at their twisted counterparts in Kinji Fukasaku’s ’00s classic, Battle Royale. Perhaps Yoon’s interest leans toward the latter, as few would see this collection as education appropriate.
The designer characterizes her cast of models as having left Spring-Summer ’23’s all-night rave – perhaps not of their own choice – and sent to a private school. Once there, their expression is limited to customizing their old school standard issue outfits.
In this context, the classic monochrome color palette, interspersed with blue and navy, finds a whole new silhouette to play across. The designer’s long-held genderless approach, in which the only difference between people is sizing, is epitomized by shirting in white, pale blue, and a striped combo. Criss crossed by multiple straps and harnesses, the shirts work either buttoned to the neck or off the shoulder for women, for a different look.
The shirts serve as the base for tailoring, which is similarly intersected by straps, whether a wide leather one across the chest, or simply all over. Paired with matching miniskirts or wide trousers, we see the rave looks of previous AMBUSH® seasons brought into a new, more formal realm without losing their energy. Worn with boiled wool sweaters or cardigans in dark gray, black, and brown, offset by the hefty rave boots that have become a signature of the house, the models look as if they’ve snuck out of the house in an older sibling’s clubbing wardrobe. Graphic patches reimagining the AMBUSH® logo further the collegiate vibe.
Another AMBUSH® classic making an appearance is the bomber jacket, which comes oversized, cropped, or fastened by a wide belt across the chest. A fake fur coat looks as if it has been lifted from Grandma’s closet or thrifted, a moment of chic levity amongst the skewed uniforms, while an oversized black leather jacket adds a punkish twist to the lineup.
A large black leather shirt nods to Yoon’s passion for workwear, while a black parka is thrown over slouchy tailored trousers and a skewed shirt. Wide skate shorts in gray are paired with a bralette or see-through shirt, a collision of the schoolboy classic and lingerie styles.
Once liberated from the confines of the day, the collection and its cast experiment with a range of materials and shorter cuts. Dressed like heroines of Japanese counterculture and film, a cropped black moto jacket is styled with leather shorts, and black leather capri pants come zipped down the front, ready to ride. A slip dress in black latex is edged in lace and worn with a chunky dog collar. And a black mini dress takes the collection’s straps to new micro dimensions, a skinny belt across the clavicle keeping it on.
Experimental and kawaii themes continue across accessories, drawing on the Tokyo instinct to blend the nostalgic and the now. The AMBUSH® heart bag is refashioned in black patent leather with new spike hardware in silver. A shoulder bag is adorned with the belt straps that play out across the collection.
Eyewear this season expands on the AMBUSH® ungen-dered spirit. Wraparound shades have a distinctly ’00s feel, perfect for emerging blinking into the daylight post-rave or ignoring the sunlight reflecting off city skyscrapers. Styles in shining metals have a more futuristic feeling, melded from Japanese titanium into an elegant wire-edged shape. The AMBUSH® logo glints discreetly as a 3D metal foil sticker or more dainty double ‘A’ on the end tips.
Jewelry, always a pure distillation of the AMBUSH® DNA, appears as if the contents of a pencil case have been tipped out and repurposed in precious metals, taking the scholastic inspiration to a new extreme. Pen caps, clips, and pin sets in silver, while necklaces and bracelets are reminiscent of bike chains and 90’s tribal designs. Symbols of teenage rebellion, a detention slip brooch and crushed can clutch – icons of the brand’s archive – are standouts among the jewelry collection, rendering fragile and malleable real-life objects into hard metal.