I will never tire of the window displays at the legendary magasin in New York City known as Bergdorfs. And nothing, NOTHING tops the incredible worlds of wonder they produce for the holiday season. Sometimes, I think I keep coming to New York for the holidays just to sneak up to Midtown and take photos. It’s my own version of Audrey Hepburn staring lovingly at the jewelry windows in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
So the theme this year had me palpitating….”BG Follies”, in 1920s Theatre style. Explained: “The visual team spent over a year creating this extraordinary homage to Vaudeville Reviews, Busby Berkeley’s Hollywood musicals and the sumptuous atmosphere of the Ziegfeld Follies”
The Ziegfield Follies was a theatre production of song and dance and it DEFINED the style of the imaginative 1920s art deco clothing (Erte even designed many of the costumes!).
In Bergdorf’s windows we have circus acts, jazz music, socialites, and singers. In the audience everyone is quite scandalous….one woman steals a kiss with a theatre usher who looks like Santa Claus, while two women have a bitch-slap fight over binoculars. Which window is your favorite?
One of my favorite up and coming brands is Roggykei, which hail from Osaka. They have released their newest collection “New Horizon” at long last. They first presented it in Paris during fashion week in a show of wont for global permeance which is getting rarer in high-end Japanese fashion these days, methinks. Together with Balmung they had a great showing and I hear they are going again so if you’re industry and going to PFW in Feb., be sure to look them up.
Now, to New Horizon. Roggykei transcends a lot of the Japanese brand cliches and they’ve got their own style; nonchalant futurism, with a heavy dose of mixing colorful organic and inorganic textiles in minimalistic yet graphical shapes. Their lookbooks are often very edgy, saturated, cool and quite in-your-face but this season the image is much softer. Two androgynous models wander a dreamy beach lanscape in creative, pale makeup. They almost look like two otherworldly beings whose spaceship crashed on the earth at this desserted beach.
That is to say their designs haven’t totally softened, although it’s a new leaf to see knitwear and an abundance of chiffon in the designs. They so fluidly waver between menswear and womenswear that it truly seems to transcend gender-specific clothing. The laser cutting and high-tech textiles they use are stunning so look at the pics closely!
It’s winter, I`m freezing, you’re freezing my legs are FREEZING! So it’s time to wrap those babies up… but considering today’s trend of having more options than ever when it comes to legwear, it would be absolutely assinine of you to wear something like black tights, or even just one color. You probably know about Avantgarde, and then TOKONE (who I collaborated with on my own tights design, available now!). But here’s another one you may or may not (probably not!) know of:
Yep. It’s an Osaka-based brand and it has a collection of some of the most wild, creative, colorful, out-there tights I have ever seen. Each design comes in either tights or leggings, for 5,250yen each. That price seems to be the going price for printed leg-wear these days. The designer is a man and he’s an awesomely cool guy with a wicked sense of humor. How could he not?! Look at some of these:
As for the “kids’ illustration” type ones, they were ACTUALLY drawn by his child and printed on the tights. This was actually the first brand I had ever seen produce such bright tights, and even utilized modern printing techniques to make each leg different, as well as fronts and backs too.
It’s hard to get your hands on these in the shops, but they do sell online if you read Japanese here. I have the bones ones… but want so many more! I will probably go for the leggings so they last longer…. (note sizes are Japanese!). I hope to see more collections, and also hope they don’t retire their designs… these are seasonless and as long as no evil holes burrow their way into them *cry*… they can be worn for a really long time… if you have the courage to, that is! These are definitely for the wild at heart.
Unless you are a die-hard fan of Martin Margiela, you probably wouldn’t know that he actually designed a hotel and restaurant in Paris. I wanted to check it out, so when I was in Paris I ventured over to Champs des Elysees and a small sidestreet where the hotel, appropriately called “The Maison des Champs Elysees” stands. It’s got 57 rooms so a bit big for a boutique hotel, and the rooms are extremely minimal…..and white. What a surprise! It’s Martin Margiela, after all! I was perfectly happy with The Mandarin Oriental hotel so didn’t book or go into the rooms. But they did have a restaurant and bar, called “Le Table 8” and that I could wander into freely as a curious consumer…
日本でも今だに熱烈なファンが多く、先のコラボシリーズでも大いにメディアを賑わせたマルタン・マルジェラ。しかしそのマルジェラがデザインしたホテルとレストランがパリにあることを知っている人はどれほどいるだろうか。事実、今回のパリ滞在中に見学させて頂いた私も今回このことを聞いて驚いたものだ。そのホテルというのは、シャンゼリゼ通りからすこし離れた小道を進むと突如姿を現すThe Maison des Champs Elyseesと名付けられたもの。客室数５７の、パリでは比較的大きなブティックホテルだ。そして肝心のそのデザインはというと、もちろん一環したミニマルスタイルで、どこまでいっても真っ白だったのが印象的だった。そして同じくこの建物内に作られたレストラン＆バーLe Table 8にもお邪魔させて頂いた。
(As an aside, talking about Martin Margiela I am reminded of a teacher at Bunka Fashion College when I was there who was the BIGGEST MM fan. I saw his interview in a bilingual magazine as a part of a column called “Fashion Victim”. So anyways, he was obsessed with MM and had a huge collection…it was all he would wear. He had them meticulously stored in his tiny apartment under a canvas cloth..white, of course. On campus no one knew his real name, everyone referred to him as “Margiela-sensei”. I have no idea if he still works there or if he still buys MMM clothes since he’s not at the brand anymore. Anyway, this has nothing to do with anything so I digress…)
I went at about 3 or 4pm so the restaurant was pretty much empty save for a man and woman having a business meeting and two nouveau riche ladies having a big late lunch. It was pleasant and quiet. The chairs were all of random and varying sizes and styles and all covered in sheets like the place was getting ready to be painted. The table closest to the entrance was huge, like something The Mad Hatter would sit in in “Alice in Wonderland”. Then the tables and chairs in the center all appeared to be “floating” off the floor- very supernatural. Naked body forms line the hallway and the corridor that leads to the rooms was walled in curtains.
I wasn’t hungry so I settled on a cafe latte with soy…but they were out of soy so normal milk had to do. It wasn’t too expensive, maybe 5 or 6 euros and was quite substantial and frothy in a milkshake glass. It was a quick in and out and snap of the camera. Next time I would surely like to try a meal here because I am a vain fashion sheep like that. But not a victim. Yet. Baah!
It’s time to warp at chic speed…to the past. November, to be exact, when Tokyo’s accessory-making prodigal son held the exhibition for his newest collection “INSECTA”. Joji rose to global status as a designer when Lady Gaga wore his mask on the cover for her Monster album. But rather than get ahead of himself Joji has been working away at his couture order-only collections since in his atelier (which he just moved from the quiet south of Tokyo to ritzy Ebisu. Fancy!). This newest collection follows his from last year which was inspired by wild animals “Utopia” though this time it’s insects.
Rather than get too literal, he took the outline of the shape of their exoskeletons, curves, claws and horns and made them into a series of impossibly perfectly polished armor rings. My little hand does not do them justice!
Then, for a more accessible choice, these are more affordable charms inspired by different butterflies that Joji makes by hand. He said that many of his customers end up wearing them with kimono. It sounds like a magical combination!
Joji Kojima： Born 1987 in California, U.S.A. He started learning to make accessories by himself at the age of 15 or so, and majored in graphic design, photography and typography in Tama Art University.While he was still in college, he attracted attention from different people in the world for contributing his works to one of LADY GAGA’s albums, and in 2010 established his own brand, JOJI KOJIMA. He has published his works at first-class select shops such as RESTIR in Tokyo, L’ECLAIREUR in Paris, and JOYCE in Hong Kong. He is also engaged in providing various artists in and around Japan with costumes and art directions.
Street style for men in Tokyo has been getting a fair chunk of the world’s attention lately, and with good reason – a Harajuku boy can rock deconstructed jackets and long skirts like no other. But where are my ladies at? They still know how to innovate, and this is especially apparent in the niche used-clothing styles that are keeping Tokyo’s fashion subcultures on the map. Three of the city’s most popular are “forest girl”, “80s disco”, and “neo vintage mix”, and I set out to find the girls who are making and cultivating these genres into successful new style trends.
This paragraph is the opening to an article I wrote for The Senken Newspaper, a daily fashion and apparel newspaper in Japan but also available in Paris and Tokyo during fashion week. It’s titled “Tokyo’s Girl Trend Setters are Behind the Registers” and I interviewed 3 leading ladies of fashion in Japan for it. Please pop over and read it online (In English only) . Everyone is so busy that it’s hard to sit down with people and hear their stories, so I was glad to have the excuse to get a one-on-one. Since I could only fit a couple hundred words onto the page, here are their interviews more in-depth.
今回この冒頭のイントロダクションで始まる記事を、“Tokyo’s Girl Trend Setters are Behind the Registersと銘打って繊研新聞で書いたのですが、普段多忙な彼女達のインタビューはあまりに興味深く、新聞の文字数では足りない！ということでここで未公開トークも交えて披露したいと思います！ちなみに原文の記事はオンラインでもご覧頂けるので、英語の勉強がてら読んでみてもいいかも！(英文記事)
*Let’s start with my first interviewee, Coi the head honcho and used and new boutique Bubbles in Harajuku. It opened in Feb 2011 and Coi was about 27 when she jumped ship at her previous used-clothing shop position at Kinsella. She took 7 years of experience in that market and decided to open a shop that more suited her tastes….
Coi: I knew about the malls, like 109 and Laforet but to me, I wanted to wear things that were more “free”. I was working at a [famous] place called Kinsella in Harajuku and learned the ropes there. My boss told me one day, “If you want to start your own shop, I`ll help you out.”
*I started to really pay attention to Bubbles last Dec when I heard news they were moving to a new location right off of Meiji Dori. I thought how amazing it was that a new shop was already moving to a better place from popularity! Well…
Coi: I`m super lucky that everyone thinks we moved because of just popularity, but to be honest our new store is a little bit smaller than before. The truth is our past owner was a little bit strange and unfair and wouldn’t renew our lease even though that’s what we were promised. So I had to pack up my shop and move it away! One of the most stressful things I’ve been through!
*Bubbles has a rather unimposing atmosphere, and is decorated kind of like the bedroom of a girl in her 20s who doesn’t want to grow up and still nostalgic for the 70s, 80s and 90s (but also wants some MiuMiu). There’s even a Mac computer on display (is it still there?) like any stylish girl would have. That, and funky bags and backpacks strewn from the ceiling and closets full of mom’s cool vintage clothing. For the interview, Coi herself was wearing flat sneakers (she was on a bicycle), a vintage MiuMiu dress, huge gemstone costume jewelry and an NBA basketball cap. Just try and make THAT fashion cocktail yourselves! Caution! Not for the amateurs….
Coi: I just wanted a store full of stuff that I liked. And I didn’t even really have an idea or concept until 3 months before we opened. I don’t even have a name for my personal style, even though I get asked to tag it as something all the time [oops, sorry for asking!!]. I used to like 70s style a lot but now I`m more into the end of the 70s into the 80s.. a big mix. But now the 80s stuff is starting to run out. It can’t last forever! We’ll have no choice but to move onto the 90s eventually before 80s stuff gets too expensive. I go on buying trips once about every 3 months to the US. Where do you recommend I go, Misha?
*I had no idea, sorry…I`m in Tokyo 11 months of the year for the past 9 years….. but back to Bubbles. I spent one entire afternoon perusing her blog because she puts together some really great outfits that have an air of maturity to them, but still experimental enough to play a leading part of Harajuku culture. This blog helped spur Bubbles to instant buzz…
Coi: I really was surprised that people knew about my shop so quickly. Especially since I was doing everything myself and couldn’t do tons of proper PR. But you know, everyone gets excited about a new shop, the hard part is keeping them interested. So I would put up lots of posts on my blog…. but then something terrible happened. Apparently one of my ideas from my shop was copied by another store. I couldn’t believe it. I felt really hurt…we are all just trying to keep Harajuku exciting and fresh and make our own way and stay in business. So now I don’t know if I should put anything on my blog anymore… even though some customers see something they like there and then come in to buy it. It puts me in a difficult position.
*I asked about an online shop then, and she explained she was setting one up as we were speaking….herself. She does her shop’s main website as well, and pretty much everything else. POWER! Gurl keeps the reins on and won’t just relinquish to anybody. Sometimes being a female and trying to grasp so much power is looked down upon in Japan. It’s far too “masculine”. What does Coi do when she has doubts?
Coi: Ari who owns The Virgin Mary is kind of my friend-slash-mentor and she gives me advice or stops by to see me. After six months I realzied how tough running a store was…I wanted to really do everything myself and control it all. I guess it’s like a maternal instinct a woman might have. This shop is my baby. But men are able to delegate and leave work to others which allows the business to get bigger. I have to work on that, I guess.
Coi: The Virgin MaryのオーナーのAriちゃんて子がいて、彼女は私の親友兼メンター なんだけど、私が困ったときには彼女にアドバイスをもらうようにしてるの。お店をオープンして半年経ったとき、その大変さを身に染みて分かったんだけど、やっぱり自分で出来る限りはやりたかったし、多分女性特有の根性強さが幸いしてなんとか切り抜けられたの。このお店は私の赤ちゃんみたいなものだからっていう考えもあるけど、でもそういう時に男性のビジネス的なやり方も必要なのかなと思って、今はそっちに頭がいってる。
*It must be really exciting though, to have so much influence and see your concept of fashion being put into practice on the streets of Harajuku with your customers.
*Girl, you are totally influential! You know that, right?
Coi: I try not to acknowledge it…I think it’s better that way now, to not let it go to my head or influence me.
*Ok, but all of your fans love you. I know they’re there…
*I’ve seen them on Twitter. They want to know when you’re working in the store! I KNOW you have fans!
Coi: ….I try not to think about it. It’s a funny thing. Of course I’m happy and thankful. But recently I`m not in the store as much, I`m doing back-end things.
Well, since this interview I didn’t see Coi around much, so she must be growing her balls and getting shit done. Good girl!! Your child is growing up and leaving the home…set it free! (she has a lot more employees to help out now). I suggest checking out her instagram and of course her shop’s blog. She also got her Bubbles online store set up as well! And the shop’s Twitter account is @BubblesTokyo (Japanese, but you’re jsut going to click on the photos anyway). Bubble go forth and float, up and away~
Simone Rocha is a hot name from London that has such a nice ring to it, it seems like a brand name that has been tossed around for ages. But instead, Simone is a young 26 year old who JUST finished her MA at Central St Martins and is already well aquainted with the likes of Grace Coddington and all of the biggest fashion publications. She has only produced a few seasons worth of clothes, but EVERY review has been nothing short of glowing.
“Wonderful”, “perfect”, “lovely”, “excellent” are some of the words you see thrown in…. I mean, it’s almost disgusting how well her collection is being perceived by the fashion critics! Can one designer really do so well so young? How much is she paying them??
Well, the truth might suck even more….because at 26 years old her collections are GOOD and they keep getting better. I was introduced to her brand through these photos:
She mixes a lot of inorganic textiles like PVC with organic ones like wool and presents them in a mash of girlie girl meets tomboy smoothie. She really broke out with her perspex shoes and neon lace pieces from her past collection.
Case in point on her success, her first stockist in London was Dover Street Market. She is also available in Colette, 10 Corso Como, Opening Ceremony IT in Hong Kong and now Dover Street Market in Ginza. She was here on a short trip and lucky me having good friends in Dover places, got to sit down for an interview and see her pieces there.
この評判が支えとなり、彼女の作品を置くショップにはDover Street Marketを皮切りに、Colette、10 Corso Como、Opening Ceremony、香港のIT、そして銀座のDover Street Marketなど錚々たるラインナップが名を連ねる。今回日本に来日した際、ラッキーなことに彼女から直接話を聞くことが出来たのでここでお伝えしたいと思います！
Mrs. Rocha (left) , me, Simone Rocha (right)
Q.What’s it like to be a young designer in London?
A.It’s great to be a young designer in London! I moved from Ireland to get my masters there and the education is so good. You’re allowed to be super creative but at the same time you get to be put on the same pedestal as the established designers. I even got to show in the same tent as my dad (veteran designer John Rocha). We also have all of these programs that support young talent, like Newgen which I won.
Q.You use a lot of plastic, but do you consider yourself a futurist?
A. I don’t think it is futurism at all, I actually am more attracted to classic pieces since they are what excite me. Take the pea coat for example; I love to take these masculine pieces and make them feminine somehow. My aesthetic is clean, and not necessarily part of futurism.
Q.How do you handle putting on shows and also designing a clothing line along with bags and shoes, too?
A. I have a very tight team. I am lucky because I can design and then show it to my one design assistant and then I also have a textile assistant. I work with a couple ateliers in italy who make my products, and of course my mother in Ireland who has decades more experience than me in the industry.
I am very meticulous about my shows, since I design the shoes and bags myself too. I always have a story to tell. In this way ,I tend to work with the same team since my MA show, including my stylist and hair and makeup people. They understand me and my “girl”.
Q. Speaking of your muse, does your girl actually exist?
A. Se’s an amalgam of many different people. She’s a little bit me, a little bit my mother, maybe a little bit of my friend Claire or perhaps a cool girl I see on the street…. in te end, it’s about taking a sweetness and cutting it with something stronger.
Q.And what was the reference point for your latest collection?
A. I looked at a group of kids called the pony kids in ireland, and the photographs that documented them by Perry Ogden.
Q. How do you feel about your selection available here in DSM ginza, and do you have any collaborations or new projects planned?
A. I am so happy with DSM Ginza’s “buy” of my collection because there’s enough wearable pieces to choose from, but also a few experimental, more challenging pieces too. I really couldn’t be happier as a designer! And as for projects, well I have some collaborations in the works but I can’t say anything yet!
A. 今回は、アイルランドにいるポニーキッズっていう集団に目を付けたの。この子達のドキュメンタリーを撮ってるPerry Odgenの写真をインスピレーションにしたわ。
Q. 今回銀座のDover Street Marketでの取扱いについてはどのような印象をお持ちですか？あとは、今後計画中のプロジェクトやコラボレーションなどはありますか？
A. ここのDover Street Marketが私の作品を気に入ってくれたのは本当に嬉しい！もちろんウェアラブルな作品が多いけど、その中でも実験的な洋服を置いてくれてる。デザイナー冥利に尽きるわね。あとは、今後のプロジェクトについては、今のところいくつか計画中だけど、まだ私の口からは言えないの。楽しみにしててね！
Simone Rocha 2012 AW now @ Dover Street Market Ginza