Undercover Spring 2017 Ready-To-WearRunwayRunway It wasn’t a surprise to find out that Jun Takahashi has an affinity for jazz. Improvisation is a key quality of that art form, and it’s a fundamental part of his own work. Takahashi is one of fashion’s most playful spirits and he loves a good hybrid. Today’s was a coat that was an army jacket up top, knit in the middle, and Lurex-shot tweed at the hem, the different materials needle-punched together. “I wish I had that right now,” whispered a seatmate. Takahashi’s trick is that his experiments result in wearable rather than overly conceptual clothes, and it’s made his show a cultish Paris must-see. Jazz, as it happens, is a newfound affection for Takahashi. He got turned on to it about two years ago and now he listens every day. “It helps me relax,” he said backstage. To convey his enthusiasm, he used musical instruments and album art as motifs. There was a saxophone printed trompe l’oeil–style on a simple T-shirt to start, and to finish he sent out a trio of bright leather outfits patchworked with trumpets, violins, keyboards, and drums. The last group elicited a few giggles, clearly not from jazz fans. If those pieces were de trop, the cool factor of midi-length shirtdresses printed with album art was high. Takahashi gave shout-outs to Miles Davis and Sonny Clark. Judging by the number of times his name turned up, the designer has a special fondness for jazz pianist Bill Evans and his standard, Waltz for Debby. For the finale, Takahashi sent out a crew of bespectacled models in matching brown suits made in Evans’s image; it was a quiet, minimalist coda to a snappy collection. Not a jazz adherent? The best looks in the show—mismatched suits with inside-out jackets and baggy pants, and a trompe l’oeil band jacket paired back to tweedy cargo shorts—betrayed little about Takahashi’s musical theme besides an unstudied, off-the-cuff grooviness.