I have put together a rather unique pop-up shop for Daimaru Shinsaibashi in Osaka, as they allowed me to experiment before they close down to renovate the Art-deco-era building. Over the course of 6 weeks, three groups of brands which represent the next generation of luxury fashion from Japan will be presenting an ample lineup of their newest collections and archives for sale.
We are now into the second of the three parts, on from Dec 16 to 30th. The theme is “Edge”
I have asked 5 brands who have a strong sense of self and stand out better for it: Christian Dada, Leonard Wong, Nocturne #22 In Ｃ Sharp Minor, Op. Posth., and accessories brand Flake. Please read about these special brands below and check out the store at the first floor of the grand Daimaru Shinsaibashi Department Store on the main Midosuji Road. (and don’t forget to check out the holiday windows I designed for them!)
“Where are the avant-garde Japanese designers??”. If a foreign fashion editor isn’t looking for street-style, then they’re usually on the hunt for some wild forward-thinking brands a la Comme des Garcons, Yohji, Junya, Issey, etc. High-fashion avant-gardism tends to be celebrated in Europe with more grandeur than here at home, so it’s tough to find. But one brand that they might be interested to meet is SOMARTA, if they aren’t on the checklist already. This is one of the most highly technical, business-savvy and experimental brands of Japan today.
On the flipside, local customer will be surprised to see just how couture and crazy Somarta is at heart. Their off-the-rack clothing is high quality and casual, but not overwhelming in any way, so it would take research to see just what they are. To remind us all how far they have come in terms of artistic fashion, Somarta has an exhhibition on the 7th floor gallery space of Shibuya Seibu now called “Body Geneaology”. This is timely…get there by the 19th!
The human body has played a big part in Somarta designer Tamae Hirakwa’s ouvre… which is kind of a “duh” since this is fashion, but I`m not talking waists and ankles. If you’re into the beautiful, the weird, and the the little bit gross or surprising, then this is for you. See below…
Somarta is perhaps trying to tell us something about appreciating them now rather than later. The collection was inspired by Goede crystals, rocks of glossy, fossilized rings in blue and pink with a diamond-like sparkle in the middle. But they don’t get that way in a day. The collection also had elements of religion like in the stained-glass inspired pieces (of embroidered silk organdy), of incubation and birth, and Leonardo DaVinci…specifically his illustration “The girl with tousled hair” as we see in the twisty, clotted petticoat knits. Da Vinci is also someone who has benefitted in reputation by the passage of time. Incubation…infamy…
But what designer or brand wants to be remembered or appreciated only after a significant amount of time has passed? Designers are natural narcissists (as they should be allowed to be! With varying degrees, of course) so I am going to say “no one”.
So here you are; appreciate Somarta with some backstage shots and details from the collection below now, better sooner than later.
Today was a sunny day. Still fucking COLD, but still, I count my blessings and took advantage of the sun’s shiny properties by offering it this Sawrovski belly necklace to bounce off of. And blind people with it’s sparkliness. I suited up in Somarta, not even making the connection that the show was today. Someone out there is watching over me. A fashion angel. *blows kiss*…
手書きスカート： “Imperfect Mandala” collection by DE-FACE スワロヴスキートップス：“Imperfect Mandala” collection by DE-FACE 両方はガーターで取り扱い シームレスタイツとトップス：ソマルタの”スキンシリーズ” シューズ：Iris Van Herpen for ユナイテッドヌード ラヴェンダー／ブラウンのウィッグ：“デビュー” by プラム
インスタグラムでもめっちゃ光る。This things blew up sparkles even with instagram.
Louis Vuitton loves Japanese artists more than Japan does. For real. The next artist collaboration features the best friend polkadots ever had, the infamous Kusama Yayoi. The products themselves haven’t been revealed yet, but the “Infinitely Kusama” site is now open. It is sure to be AMAZEDOTS. (louisvuittonkusama.com)
Speaking of Kusama, she just designed this lingerie for Une Nana Cool. It features the amazing yellow and black motif often seen in her pumpkin series. I know this sounds too childish to be associated with lingerie, but Iwant!Iwant!Iwant!Iwant! It’s available at Une Nana Cool shops from the 24th but will be sold early at Aoyama’s Spiral 1st floor from Wed 15-19th. (wacoal)
SOMARTA’s contribution to the Madonna Superbowl halftime show. Seamless lace bodysuits for the backdancers. “We’ve been working on this since December,” tweeted designer Tamae Hirokawa. So incredible, otherwise presented without comment. See more: (V Magazine)
ソマルタがマドンナのハーフタイムショーに提供したのは？！ そう！あの有名なシームレスニット“skin series”! “12月から取り組んでます”とデザイナーの廣川玉枝さんがtwitterでつぶやいた。圧倒的！ (V Magazine)
3.1 Phillip Lim’s 31 Hour Bag Series coming to Japan I see this bag picked up all over western fashion news sites, so great to see it available over on our little fashion island. It will kick off with a launch at the Aoyama flagship on the 23rd before going on sale to the public. The motto for this is “For those who feel 24 hours isn’t enough.” *raises hand* I have this disease…SO HAPPY there’s a cure! Phillip Lim
Maison KITSUNE opens first American shop. Next month, A new hotel is opening in New York city called the NoMad (NoMad= “North of Madison Square”. … … … …^^;). INSIDE this new hotel will be Kitsune’s first North American boutique. You know Maison Kitsune as the music+fashion brainchild of Francophile Gildas Loaec and Japanese architect Masaya Kuroki. Mark your calendars! (kitsune.fr)
Taishi Nobukuni created the Agent Provacateur logo?! Your totally random fashion trivia of the day: Japanese fashion designer Taishi Nobukuni drew the now-famous stylized and sexy typography for lingerie brand Agent Provacateur when he shared an apartment with creator Joseph Corre 17 years ago on Illustrator. The more you know! (agentprovacateur.com)
Laduree teams up with Tsumori Chisato for some extra-sweet macarons Tsumori Chisato has produced a set of macarons and a sakura-scented candle for Laduree. I have never eaten so many macarons in my life than when I was in the Saint-Germain-Des-Pres Laduree boutique in Paris and I HAVE NO REGRETS. The Tsumori ones are making me hungry…Mmm. From Mar 1 (WWD.com)
Japan Leather Fair at New York Fashion Week with SOMARTA, Noritaka Tatehana, etc. If you’re in NY for fashion week right now, then too bad because you’re missing the great weather in Tokyo. Hah！Jokes of jealousy aside, if you ARE there and you’re press/buyer/industry pro, then check out the Leather Japan presentation and party on Monday night that will feature goods from my favorite brands SOMARTA, Aguri Sagimori, Noritaka Tatehana, Motonari Ono and No, No, Yes! among others 6:30-7:30pm at The BOX at Lincoln Center. leatherjapan.jp
レザー・ジャパン at ニューヨークコレクション！ソマルタ、ノリタカタテハナ等も参加 今NYFWで東京を離れてる方は残念！今東京の気候最高にいいわ！！ハハハ。 ってエンビーめいた冗談をおいておいて、月曜日の夜に開催されるレザージャパンのプレゼンテーションと パーティーはお忘れずに。人気日本ブランド（てか自分のお気に入りの）ソマルタ、アグリサギモリ、ノリタカタテハナ、モトナリオノ、No, No, Yes!なども参加。リンカーンセンターのThe BOX, 18:30-19:30。leatherjapan.jp
The “Feel and Think” (感じる服 考える服：東京ファッションの現在形) exhibit that features 10 Japanese fashion brands at the Opera City Gallery comes to a close on Sunday (25th) so I made a beeline there to see it before coming to the US. Half-way through it, not only was I thinking a million miles a minute, I was certainly feeling something too.
Here, we’re being given an insight into the workings and the ideas behind what the brands stand for, and none of them were to be taken lightly. Most of them had their beating hearts stitched on their sleeves. I then had mind flashes of a lot of those big brands whose own stories are lost… to business and commerce. I’m sure there are dreams and fantasies and desires and stories behind the brands, but it just gets lost in the noise.
Well, fuck the noise.
If there were ever a person who said fashion is nothing more than clothing, they need to see this exhibit. It really delves into so much more than the delusion of fame and half-inch integrity. This is where “exclusivity” isn’t meant for the “image” of the brand, but because resources for the operations are scarce and it really is meant to be special.
It is so much better than the Japan Fashion Now exhibit at FIT last year, even. Each brand was given free reign over their installation space, and most of them used it magnificently. The “Feel & Think” exhibit is a small delight….brands on display are ANREALAGE, SasquatchFabrix, Mina Perhonen, Somarta, h.Naoto, Matohu, Keisuke Kanda, Mintdesigns, Writtenafterwards and Theatre Products.
Keisuke Kanda was one of the brands I was the most excited to see, since he is such a mysterious creature. I feel like his clothes are made for a very specific subset…and while I “get” it, I don’t GET it. Lots of subversion…. happiness swaddled in loneliness… It’s real, as the clothing is tangible, but it’s set in a fantasy land different from my reality. I want to know more, but keep it at arm’s length. A head trip. The antique lace and patchwork is amazing work, however!
He told a story about falling in love (obsession?) with a girl he saw at the Bunka Fashion College library…poignant for me and my alma mater, but I don’t remember seeing any cute boys at the library ;)
I thought HOW did they get everything in this room to stretch and squish down?! I felt vertigo. Standing in front of the short and wide mannequins in the “shop” I nearly lost my balance because the vertigo was so strong. People just shouldn’t look like that…and it gave my head a trip. Contrastingly, the tall and long mannequins seemed as if they could come to life any second and take a giant’s swing at me.
(the fat and stretched receipts at the register were an amazing touch!)
Show notes say: The shop installation is called “Question the Standard” and features the 2010-11 collection “shortwideslimlong”.
Somarta has some incredible interior items, like a giant “drip” hanging from the ceiling, caught in a web of the brand’s own seamless knit. How many oil fields will I have to mine to be able to afford to 1)buy a house to fit it and 2) get it made in white? (see top photo)
It was an incredible chance to look at their creations up close, which is what needs to be done to appreciate the work.
Finally, I have to say Writtenafterwards had one of the most poignant installations of the show. It tells the story of an Eden where Adam broke a promise with the animals and peeked into their factory. ..what he found there was all the animals printing Zero-yen bills…. this installations was incredible!! You need to see it yourself.
Mintdesigns and Sasquatchfabrix (a brand I was totally unfamiliar with) used “trash” for their installations, with the former making dresses out of shredded paper, and the latter making giant objects out of “zombie clothes” or items that have been discarded after becoming untrendy.
It’s not just that these brands are good just because they are from Tokyo, they are excellent PERIOD. Go see the exhibit and rediscover fashion, you hear me?
Don’t forget to pick up a show catalog..there are special editions made from fabric of each brand and signed inside! I picked one up…I won’t say which one ;p