I was in the middle of some conference or lunch or other, trying to be composed, when I checked my email on my phone. There it was: a save the date email for a series of events from Chanel. “Oh my GOD!” I said out loud, totally breaking code. When asked what was wrong, I gave the excuse that I just saw something surprising on Twitter (which is hilarious that that makes for an excuse). It was time to gear up!
Fast forward to March 20th and I was in the busiest week of my life. It was right smack during Tokyo Fashion Week which is super important. Then I was working on wardrobe for Nicki Minaj during her Tokyo promo tour. Also super important. But there was NO way I was going to miss a dream opportunity to suck some CO2 with Karl Lagerfeld himself too.
What was the deal this time? He was here for 3 days of events that were set to strengthen ties between the brand and Japan following the earthquake and tsunami. It was the first visit since 2004.
It started with the opening of an exhibit called “The Little Black Jacket” featuring friends of Chanel photographed by Karl Lagerfeld. It was co-curated with Carine Roitfeld and will be published as a huge book come this fall (everyone got an advance copy; it’s giant and perched on my sofa at home). The exhibit is on until April 15.
Here, I had literally 5 minutes to come in and take a look before my next appointment. I still managed to get the prize; a shot with THE Carine Roitfeld herself, together with shoe designer Noritaka Noritaka and ICONIQ. Unfortunately I don’t have this photo… it’s languishing among thousands of others on Chanel’s servers right about now. It’s bruned in my memory though. After we thought we had the shot, the three of us pulled away, but Ms. Roitfeld continued to pose and work for the camera alone. Working woman WERQS!
まず手始めに、カール自身がカメラをとった”Little black Jacket”のエキシビション。
After the Tokyo Fashion Week festivities were done that day was something greatly cool, an invitation to a private dinner held in honor of Karl Lagerfeld’s visit to Tokyo. These dinners happen all the time in New York, Paris and Milan but this one was extra special; that’s because it was NOT in those cities.
It was the first time anyone had been able to rent out the entire of the New York Grill at the Park Hyatt Hotel. I stepped into the restaurant and was met with the sweeping night view of Shinjuku, and the scene of a glamorous woman off to the side taking video of it with her digital camera in slack-jawed awe. My guide and I brushed past her and I turned to give a wink like, “Yeah, it’s cool isn’t it” and it was -gulp!- Sarah Jessica Parker!
The whole evening was quite magical; there were so many media luminaries invited from around the world and the multicultural and multimedia chatter reverberated off the tall ceilings. I was at the Japan table that next to me was Yumi Deguchi of Elle (Fujingaho) Japon, across from her was model Tao and Mitsuko Watanabe editor in chief of Vogue Japan, and next to them was Ako Tanaka, editor in chief of Numero Tokyo as well as Richard Collasse president of Chanel Japan. Drinks were poured, conversation was extremely friendly, and after several hours even presidents of Conde Nast Japan and Hearst Fujingaho were talking together like buddies on the golfing green. If there was any awkwardness, it only came from a sense of vertigo from being so high up and feeling on top of the world.
Since I have been visiting China a lot lately, I was introduced to Angelica Cheung who resides over Vogue China (thanks Kitada-san!). She was extremely cool and totally intent on paying attention to our conversation. By then it was after midnight, I had way too much champagne, only the models (and Olivier Zham) were left drunk-dancing to the DJ and it was time for me to go. But not before brushing past Karl Lagerfeld himself who was in the middle of conversation and not at all looking like he was tired or ready to leave. I will say this; the man has INCREDIBLE skin. Mama mia!
Chanel wine; you can tell it’s Karl’s sketch.
The next day was a dream come true; a ticket to the Chanel SS 2012 couture show that was being re-staged for the Tokyo audience. I was a little bit in a daze here because seeing a couture show first-hand is a coup for any fashion fan. It really was just yesterday I was playing dress-up with scraps of fabric in my little country-side hometown in eastern Washington, then at 17 coming to Japan and learning what “Burberry” was for the first time. And here, a few years later, I was on my way to Chanel couture show! Proof that perseverance is a payoff.
It was held at Shinjuku-gyoen park, a city-run conservatory that closes promptly at 4pm everyday. So it was a HUGE deal that Chanel was not only allowed to let patrons in after closing time, but that they were allowed to erect a football field-sized tent on the grounds. This permission was surely given as thankful retribution to Richard Collasse’s contributions to supporting Japanese culture in France.
Inside those tents was a full replica of the private jumbo jet set for the couture show. Every detail was taken care of: The carpet was emblazoned with little CCs and each seat had LED-tickers with our numbers on them. I had an incredible seat up near the “cockpit” and was sitting next to Ms. Ouchi, a luminary in fashion journalism in Japan (“I first coined the term “Milan Collection” in Japanese,” she said to me.)
My favorite part of the collection were the dark pieces of noir. I know pastels and lightness and girlyness are in, but damn if a black-blue beaded dress ain’t sexy.
I was here in my Rogykei clothing and Sawa Vaughters “Puked to death” couture hat.
A shot of Karl stepping away from his duties as pilot just long enough to greet everyone. Please notice his iPhone case…is a graphic of himself. ^^
Vanessa Paradis has beautiful eyes like WHOAH.
Amanda Harlech. And Sarah Jessica Parker.
Finally, everything culminated in a huge party on Friday on a rooftop of a warehouse on the Tokyo Bay. If it were a little warmer and not pouring cats and wolves outside it would have been a dream. But as it goes, when you’ve got hundreds of warm bodies, oodles of drinks and endless dean and deluca finger food, you forget what’s going on outside anyway. Everyone co-mingled around the bar until it was time for the special guest to take her place on stage. That would be Azaelia-c***-getting-eaten’-
about the (212) while being up in the (03) and capping it off with a short cover of “Firestarter” by Prodigy.
I had to be up early to show Nicki’s team a farewell so left my place with Mami. At that point, it was the models like Arizona Muse and Alice Dellal (and Olivier Zham) on stage dancing as we stepped out into the rain again.
Ito Chiaki of AAA, Jonte Moaning and moi
DJ Fujiko and Akkun make one of my favorite DJ duos The Furrs.
A plastic PVC board was set up so anyone could draw graffiti. I mean, write heartfelt messages.
The week was incredible, but you know with all of this high, it could get addicting, Chanel! When is my next hit!?
A video. Spotted!!
Two events are still on until April 15- check them out:
CHANEL “LITTLE BLACK JACKET” PHOTO EXHIBIT
5-4-48 minami aoyama, minato-ku
CHANEL TOKYO POP-UP STORE
5-11-5 jingumae, shibuya-ku
｢東京 ポップアップ ブティック｣
BA-TSU ART GALLERY
｢リトル ブラック ジャケット写真展｣3月24日～4月15日
awesome photos taken by (c) Mami “mamitan” Tanabe for TfD