What is ugliness? What is ugly fashion? Ugly is becoming more and more a mass-accepted form of attractiveness, especially in Japan.
One of my absolute favorite new brands from Tokyo is this young but very “dark” horse, Kotoha Yokozawa (stylized as kotohayokozawa). The 2017 SS collection is called “It’s hard to stay peaceful. I am wearing everything I couldn’t finish on a nothing-special kind of day.”
Well. Even if she couldn’t finish it all, (and that theme comes out in the clothing design) the collection was so interesting, cool, feminine, and very risky. It’s part of a group of young designers, all who graduated from Coconogacco, one of the most interesting fashion schools in Japan, and it’s also part of a “imperfect is best” movement of fashion design.
Every time I open a news site, I am reading about the newest technologies that are going to change the world as we know it. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and especially the automated machines that are threatening to steal our jobs. I recalled the 1920s art deco-style film “METROPOLIS” about a futuristic and technologically advanced society. The film brings drama by showing the imminent collapse of the city, but in our own reality, the Tokyo Metropolis is flourishing. The changes are popping up around us like wildflowers; skyscrapers changing the skyline monthly! digital multi-lingual menus everywhere! and city-wide celebratory events! For the latter, I ended up at Shibuya Scramble Crossing for their first ever “Times-Square-Style” city countdown. It was crowded but not , and everyone was incredibly polite- Japanese culture wins again. The city is changing, but some things stay the same.
Sadness, loneliness, longing, backstabbing, doubt… sometimes there are products of fashion and art, created from these supposed “negative” traits. Then there are times when these feelings create a chain reaction… the easiest example is spontaneous shopping (or binge eating, I suppose!).
Because you were dumped. Because you messed up at work. Because you did *something* wrong. When that sort of shopping motivation arises, we become like starved hunters, desperately searching for anything to procure. But even in this sort of wild game, meeting the perfect product is still important… and even when circling the department store with your bow and arrow, you can end up catching the perfect thing.
And this is what happened when I met Somnium. In a crazed, “must get SOMETHING” moment, I ended up with the coolest new brand in my rolodex of love.
Christmas doesn’t need to be just about red velvet and white fur….even Santa Claus thinks that’s all played out by now. And with these (un)seasonably warm temps we have to be opportunistic by going more lightweight on the body.
Perhaps this is why I am slow to move to a “winter wardrobe”. It’s all there, ready to be plucked out of my closet, but I just can’t do it. Instead, I`m stuck on this lingerie fashion style, which just seems more fitting for the holiday season. But in an elegant way, not a crude one…
Ring-a-Round-o’ Rosies, バラの花輪だ、手をつなごう A pocket full of posies, ポケットは花束でいっぱいにして Ashes! Ashes! ハックション！ハックション！ We all fall down. みいんなでころぼ。
Ring a Round o Rosies (RRR)も例外ではなくて、実は死を象徴するような意味が隠されていると言われているのだ。イギリスを始めヨーロッパでは、ヨーロッパ全人口の約3割を死亡させたという「ペスト(black death)」が大流行したという歴史がある。この曲はそれについて歌っていて、バラはペストの赤い斑点症状、花束はペスト予防のハーブ、そしてくしゃみはペストの初期症状を意味しているとのこと。
Ring-a-Round-o’ Rosies, A pocket full of posies, Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down.
It’s a children’s song and rhyme that anyone from Western cultures knows. Children hold hand and sing while moving in a circle. In Japan, they have “kagome, kagome” and “hana ichimonme”. Variations of “Ring around the rosie” is said to have been inspired by the Black Death and The Great Plague in London (the rash that signifies the Plague was a pink ring on the skin, and people filled their pockets with flowers as they thought it would help to ward the sickness off). The Plague took 30% of Europe’s population, in a swift sweep of death.
Writtenafterwards’ 2017 SS collection was filled with appliques of pretty flowers on white, transparent organdy. On the floor of the gallery space was a ring of plastic flowers in yellow, red and blue. And the “main” piece of the collection was a round dress with no armholes, with flower appliques around the edges. Tucked inside some pockets were tiny satchels. Was there any doubt? It HAD to be about the song and the Black Death. This is avantgarde brand Writtenafterwards we’re talking about. Right? RIGHT??!
今ではすっかり、ユニクロといえば”機能性”というイメージが出来上がっているが、もはや機能性が高いからといって単純でシンプルな服ばかりというわけではない。ブランドDNA事態自体は多くのラインから作られていて、たとえば人気のイノベーティブ系(エアリズムやユニクロスポーツ)や、クリエイティブ系(Ines de la FressangeやUT)など。それから、ユニクロがプレミアムデニムの研究をしているとか、NYの美術館MOMAとコラボしてるなんて初耳だった。そこで、奥の深いユニクロというブランドについて、先月東京で開かれた巨大な展示会にもお邪魔して、そのDNAリサーチしてきたのでみなさんにシェアしたい。つまり、いったいどれぐらいコラボを今はたしているか、どんな風に生地の機能性を上げているか、「ベーシックな服だからユニクロのコレクションをレポートしない」のを敢えて徹底的にレポートします。世界的ブランドなのに、SS 2017年の展示会をするのはここ東京で１日だけ。スペシャルな瞬間をおすそわけです。(自分が想像した以上に大規模なブランドのため、展示会から少し間が空いてしまい、時間かかったのですが、こっち発のブランドとして誇りを持っていただき、そしてこの情報を活用させていただければ、と思っております）。では、ライフウェアのツアーを始めましょう！
Recently, on a trip to Berlin the airline lost my bag. It had all of my basic items in it, leaving me in the German chill with just my airplane clothes and souvenirs I`d brought. As soon as I got into the city, I went to the only place I wanted to go to get what I needed and would want to use when I got back to Tokyo, getting underwear, a warm sweater, scarf, jeans and pajamas. Of course, I went to Uniqlo.
Uniqlo calls it’s clothing LifeWear. When the brand debuted this “LifeWear” moniker a couple years ago, it was understandably mistaken to be a separate collection by me and many others. But, it simply refers to Uniqlo clothing as a whole, encompassing all of the smaller lines and collaborations within it. I imagine the brand asserts this LifeWear concept so strongly, so as to draw a line separating it from fast fashion. “This is not fast wear, this is life wear,” they deem to say.
The brand has become synonymous with “functional wardrobe” but it goes beyond being a few basic pieces. The brand’s DNA is made of a matrix of lines, some that come from an innovative stance (like AIRism, and Uniqlo Sports) and others that come from a creative stance (Like Ines de la Fressange and the UT t-shirts) that certainly take a little bit of digging to grasp. For example, did you know Uniqlo has a new denim laboratory? Or that it is collaborating with the MoMA in NYC? No? Well, I’ve done the research for you, at their massive 2017 spring/summer exhibition held in Tokyo last month. Because it’s considered a “basic” brand, no one really bothers to talk about its new collections. Well since I`m a rebel and a workaholic, I`ve set out to decode the DNA here for you. Despite being a global brand, Uniqlo only holds their press exhibitions in Tokyo for one day, so getting a peek at what is to come for SS 2017 is quite special.
(this brand is SO much bigger than I first expected, so bear with me as we tour through it all)
“Do I dream very much? Do I dream predominantly about fashion? No. I dream much more about cats.”
This is a quote from the much beloved and 25-year veteran fashion editor of VOGUE, Ms. Coddington. As a professional, of course she was madly passionate about her job, but she said that there were three things that fulfilled her life: the color black, wine, and cats.
Along with being one of the smartest and wittiest women in the industry, she is also muveil’s 2017 spring summer collection muse (but unofficially, so let’s keep it between you and me). It’s a collection filled with whimsical details of the things she loves like wine and of course, cats.
During Tokyo Fashion Week in Oct., I couldn’t help but noticing; many of the fashion girls around me had tossed the pastel or blonde hair styles for one: the little black bob. To name a few names, Mademoiselle Yulia, Matsuyou, and of course there’s always been Mappy and Erika Gold. It’s part of a growing trend of girls in Japan who are going back to their roots, and making “wa” or modern “yamato nadeshiko” one of the coolest styles around.
Yamato-Nadeshiko is a very outdated term, but means “ideal Japanese woman”…usually very natural looking, demure, humble, good at cooking and homemaking etc. But it’s not about being demure or quiet, because this very “Japanese” style is all about being strong, cool and unique. It’s the modern yamato-nadeshiko, and it’s one of the best trends I’ve seen in Japan in the last decade.