It’s been a tough year for globetrotters like Charaf Tajer. The Casablanca designer dedicated his spring collection to a friend in Japan, a country he’s visited 26 times by his count.

“Every time I go, it’s more and more impressive to me. Japan for me is almost like school, I learn so much,” he raved. “The way they execute things, the way they are passionate about everything. So I wanted to pay homage to this place that I miss and I love so much.”

He titled the coed collection “Masao San” after his old pal, a waiter with a unique sense of style. “He’s really a phenomenal person,” Tajer explained. “He inspired me on so many levels.”

Casablanca Men’s Spring 2022

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The film alternated between the graphic aesthetic of ‘90s Japanese consumer electonics ads, and elements of ‘80s Memphis design set against a pastel backdrop. “I’m having a baby in September and I think that inspired me indirectly. We were designing and we noticed that everything came out in a baby palette,” Tajer said.

The combination of the brand’s signature color gradients with Memphis-style wavy lines made for a surefire dopamine boost. There’s something naively enthusiastic about Tajer’s embrace of different cultures that’s reflected in his trademark souvenir jackets, which this season were embroidered with shell motifs or a rendering of Mount Fuji.

From there, he bounced off in several directions. The designer offered suit jackets with squiggly lapels, and a fresh take on the Casablanca monogram in a zig-zag pattern – a teaser for his upcoming collaboration with table tennis gear maker Butterfly.

To celebrate the reveal, he hosted a cocktail at the Ritz hotel, where a ping pong table was set up near a grand piano in a reception room. In the garden, Alton Mason, modeling a short-sleeved zippered jacket and white pants, mingled with guests including Ella Emhoff and her boyfriend Sam Hine, and “Emily in Paris” stars Ashley Park and Samuel Arnold.

Tajer had initially planned to stage a physical runway show, but said too many guests were still unable to travel to France. “I prefer to come back when it’s time to do the shows in the right way,” he said. No doubt, his colorful vision will be even more of a tonic in 3-D.

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