Iconic designer Jun Takahashi has unveiled his latest Undercover Gyakusou collaboration with Nike. For AW12, his fifth season designing Nike x Undercover Gyakusou, Takahashi continues his exploration of the true meaning of Gyakusou, which literally translates to “running in reverse.” Titling the collection Autumn Monks, Takahashi captures Nagano’s pristine nature, including the cedar trees—which he explains, “make me feel the history of Japan and Japanese culture”— with a unique camouflage-like pattern of autumnal leaves. The connection to nature is re-emphasized in the collection’s subtle palette of rich purple, slate grey, saturated blue, deep red and black, what the designer explains as the “traditional or natural colours of Japan.” Along with employing the aforementioned high-tech, running-specific details across the entire collection, Takahashi also adapts the garments to meet the respective needs of men.
Addressing male running requirements, the men’s collection’s Mixed Short, Lightweight Jacket and Convertible Jacket emphasize a pioneering mix of materials, tailored silhouettes and slightly bolder tones. Meanwhile, the Swift Long Tights, Outlast Knit Cap, Wool Bonded Hoodie and Dri-Fit Short- and Long-Sleeve Tops create a core base for the colder seasons, each fashioned to collaborate with the male anatomy and maximize performance—as do corresponding iterations of the Lunar Speed Lite + JP and Men’s Nike Free V3 running shoes.
To visually communicate the Autumn Monks story and the collection’s overall inspiration, Takahashi, film/art director Tetsuya Nagato and photographer Katsuhide Morimoto travelled to Togakushi, where they filmed the team’s journey, employing a purposeful juxtaposition of sharp and soft focus shots and washed-out colour to add a touch of retro to the film’s otherwise documentarian character. This otherworldly, transcendental ambiance follows the team as they arrive at their campground under the cover of night and transition from a contemporary morning to a timeless spiritual and athletic quest, communing with nature as they go and ultimately arriving at a moment of awakening.