What happens when we girls delve into the mind of a curious boy? This one’s brimming with books, art, pictures, taxidermy, masks, fashion, and graphics, all mixed up in a cacophony of creepiness. It’s an attempt to show exactly what it’s like to be inside the mind of a boy, in its glorious chaos, all set to the background of gloriously chaotic Kitakore in Koenji, Tokyo.
そのルイヴィトンが、ガリエラ宮パリ市立モード美術館 館長のオリヴィエ･サイヤールのキュレーションによって集めた膨大なコレクションの展示を行っている。「Volez, Voguez, Voyagez – Louis Vuitton(空へ、海へ、彼方へ──旅するルイ･ヴィトン)」展というタイトルのこのエキシビションは、一歩中へ足を踏み入れればたちまち、創業者一族のアーカイヴから現在までのルイ･ヴィトンのクリエーションの膨大な歴史をたどる旅がスタートする。
Japan is a nation that has a penchant for the good things in life, and that includes designer goods. And one of the most beloved in the whole nation is Louis Vuitton. And that’s not just among the rich or fashion bourgeois, but no doubt that the baker or butcher down the street knows the brand, or may even have his own LV wallet at home. And that’s because the relationship between Louis Vuitton and Japan goes back a very long way.
The “LV” monogram itself is inspired by Japanese “mon” or coat of arms, and no less than three Japanese artists have been tapped for major collaboration since the start of this century (Takashi Murakami, Comme des Garcons and Yayoi Kusama).
So now Louis Vuitton has chosen Tokyo to be the second city to get their large-scale exhibit, “Volez, Voguez, Voyagez- Louis Vuitton“. Stepping inside, you’ll find a myriad of rooms displaying the personal trunks of founder George Vuitton and his friends and family through the decades. It’s a literal “trip”, taking you through the desert, into the air, on trains, and more.
REMINDER! On Sunday (1st) Diane Pernet and I will be having a live discussion before the movie screening at 14:30. The first few people to show up will score one of the cool ASVOFF Tokyo T-shirts printed on American Apparel tees. It’s also my birthday so be cool and maybe you’ll get cake (probably not true ;). See you Sunday at IDOL on Kotto-dori!!
While clothing was aplenty, also at the viewing party was a large selection of the newest Chanel Boy bags. The tomboyish, punk model Alice Dellal is the face of the ad campaign for the bag, as a modern interpretation of Mlle Coco Chanel who was considered quite audacious and “punk” of her time too (brush up on your history: Thanks to Mlle Chanel we women get to wear pants. Oy!). as in Coco Chanel and Alice, it is hard to have youthful audacity with elegance- a potent combination that very few women could dream to possess. So it was in Tokyo with just 40 or so of the coolest Tokyo girls who “have it” with aplomb at the preview party.
FW Chanel Boy campaign starring Alice Dellal | アリスが主演するシャネルのChanel Boyキャンペーン
From Pop singer Beni, to Fig & Viper designer Alisa Ueno, AMBUSH designer Yoon, and Harajuku “it” girl Momo, we all browsed the tartan tweed, boucle and dainty silk clothing along with edgy pieces like weighty chain necklaces and motorcycle gloves. The collection is a splice of history with an Scottish Edinburgh setting, painted in tartan check and swaths of cream gowns worthy of an oil-painting portrait. As you know, the show was held in an honest to goodness castle as well.
I am going to preface this post by saying that while I should stick to the point (that I’m writing about a photo exhibit), I am not sorry about making this more about women who are inspirational. …ok, fine…I’ll stick to one for now to keep this on track (but I DO love talking about cool women in Tokyo). I didn’t even plan on going to the Mari Natsuki x Michael Thompson photo exhibit at Daikanyama’s T-site because Thursday was a busy night and since I live in Yoyogi, Daikanyama is out of the way. But I was feeling hyper after the Armani party and I knew the exhibit was A Big Deal and a Need To See.
Long story short, I met Ms. Natsuki who is infinitely cool and beautiful, and saw just why Michael Thompson is considered one of the best photographers alive. Mari Natsuki is a Japanese actress, dancer and singer who has that sexy devilish style and demeanor that can go from cute to cutting depending on the situation at hand. She has been in some of my own favorite movies like Sakuran, Ping Pong and was the voice of Yubaba in “Spirited Away” (I KNEW I HEARD THAT VOICE BEFORE!). Michael Thompson was assistant to Irving Penn (swoon) before going on to win awards for his photography that spans every fashion mag in existence as well as commercial direction. Together, they created an exhibition that showcased Mari’s dance prowress and captured movement..some photos span the length of the exhibit wall showing her twirling and twisting over and over, ad infinitum.
Of course,meeting her personally was a huge highlight, and she rocked a giant YSL-ish floppy hat and rock-chick black dress (fitting, since she’s married to a rockstar). In the making video she’s all up in Michael’s studio nonchalant and casual in an Alaia outfit like “What, this old thing?”. Whooee!
To be a model, one is usually blessed with natural good looks (see the law of symmetry in attraction), a chameleon-like ability to transform according the theme of a fashion shoot, and they work on their craft full-time by getting into agencies and attending auditions left and right. There are high-fashion models in Japan for sure, but the domestic girls, usually of mixed Japanese and western ethinicty certainly get enough work to have lucrative careers.
“Doku” means “Reader” and “mo” stands for “model” so literally it means “reader model”. Now that makes them sound like girls who read books to children for charity or something, so I would translate it more like “street-style models” or “amateur models”. Basically, these girls get scouted on the streets by magazines for their street-style which will usually correspond to one of the popular subcultures that has a magazine dedicated to it. So KERA will look for Harajuku girls, Egg will search for Gyaru and Popteen will look for mini-idols. The girls are already secretly hoping to get their photos snapped for the street-style pages in their favorite magazines so they get all dolled up and hang out in Harajuku or Shibuya. After they’ve been snapped for a few issues by a magazine and proved they’ve got style, they might be asked to become a “dokumo” for that magazine and are invited to professional photoshoots to get pages dedicated to her style and makeup techniques.
If we were to compare it to a phenomenon in the west, it would basically be…BLOGGERS! Girls with awesome street-style becoming superstars, right? It’s especially interesting since there’s no phenomenon of bloggers becoming famous in Japan, since they just go straight to being dokumo instead (and all dokumo have diary-like blogs anyway).
I learned about this somewhat strange world of dokumo when on assignment with CNN a few years ago I was asked to follow a Koakuma-Ageha dokumo “Sayurin” on a photoshoot all day. I was shocked when I saw her bring her own suitcase of clothes, and she did her own makeup as an editor hovered like a helicopter just inches away. “What brand of eyeliner is that? How thick is that line? 2mm? Are you drawing it differently this month compared to last month?” So basically for “dokumo”-heavy magazines the girls themselves are filling the pages contents themselves!
DOKUMO are the subject of this weekend’s episode of Kawaii International on NHK and for an hour it follows the ins and outs what it takes to be one, why someone would want to be one (do they get paid? What’s the point?). So definitely check it out. Melody and I talked to 6 **VERY** different dokumo from different genres so its very fascinating (hime-gyaru, akiba-mix idol, gyaru, harajuku fairy, gyaru punk and japanese-gothic)
As for the phenomenon I don’t think it’s going away soon, despite the blog and digital revolution. Said a model friend of mine, “I feel like dokumo might be taking our jobs someday. Afterall, they don’t have to pay for stylists or makeup artists!”. Look out, world!