Wacoal is Japan’s largest producer and distributor of lingerie and innerwear, and their history of almost 70 years has seen them become household names over here. But that knowledge usually stops at lingerie and not a lot more. So, I have been working with them for a couple years now, collaborating with their high-end division of brands, to see if we can’t find a way to get a little more out of their pretty little things. Can lingerie be worn as fashion? During daytime?- Yes! To parties? -Absolutely, nighttime events are made for this!
This season I am working with the Studio Five label, a Wacoal original luxury brand which is known for ornate lace and adventurous colors. It means there is a great variety for transforming them into fashion looks. These are tried and tested “lingerie looks” where I tried to incorporate their slips, bodysuits, camisoles, and even bras into some looks for all occasions. I hope you get some inspiration! And, all looks are available at Dept Stores across Japan (and some overseas branches) as well as online.
This place was further out than I had predicted. Then, a couple of transfers underground and a stroll through a traditional old-school neighborhood on the East side of Tokyo later, I arrived at my destination; a Japanese Elementary School. It was a Saturday, but the kids that attended here have been gone for a long time now. Now, it sits proudly as a collective and incubation for budding designers and artisans in Tokyo as Tokyo’s “Designers Village”. The brands here are either still finding their footing, or simply choose to work in camaraderie, among a group of truly unique and one of a kind brands. A step inside is a slip through time, with the old “school rules” in perfect calligraphy scrawled across the length of the ceiling, and all of the old structure and interior intact. If you’ve seen any Japanese horror movies, then you would recognize it immediately.
It’s been a long time since I put on a piece of fantasy.
After entering the era of the “Social Media” craze/haze/daze, things have changed not only for me but everyone who uses it and looks at it. What once was merely a tool for self-expression has become a business machine unto itself, and determining what is real and what’s genuine is as clear as sludge. There’s one thing for sure; that more than in corporations with rules upon rules on what someone can do, personal expression and freedom is what truly grabs attention.
Fashion also has become a product of its own demise, a fault of the “adults” who have their own reasons for doing what they can to keep whatever going because it’s comfortable that way But there are still some people, and especially the youth, who see fashion as more than a product, but as something with transformative power. And what’s interesting about young people’s collections is that they’re usually a direct response to what is going on in the world, but without the marketing jingo and heaps of trend forecasting books stacked behind them.
Perhaps it had just been too long since I wore something truly unique, but I surely felt that spirit in the clothing here, all courtesy of some creative and talented up-comers. These three pieces are from the finalists of the national Bunka Fashion Contest last month where I was judging. I just couldn’t let the storage rooms and boxes swallow them up without taking them out for a spin.
Time: 13:45 Location: Sasazuka Theme: Wearing the next era Per Minute 〜ミニッツから時代の先を感じる〜
ここで着ている服はみんな、 Per Minuteという新人ブランドの作品です。昨年、H&M主催する若手発掘デザインコンテストのファイナリストだったというニュースが。どの辺が審査員の目を引いたのだろう？と思うと、一見ナンセンスに見える服には、どっか「今」と「ちょっと先」っぽいところを反映しているところかしら。「ちょっと先」というのがキーワード。斬新というか、ちょっと不気味なところが「ちょっと先」の味。馴染みがないので、二度見する。好きか、嫌いか、判断ができない。でもきっと、この先にはこういう服があるはず。若手のパワーはそこにあるかも。
Everything here is by a great new brand I ran across recently, called Per Minute. Chosen as a finalist in the H&M Awards contest last year, the collection wasn’t chosen but getting so far means that there is something in this wild mix that represents a facet of fashion for today with a dash of the fashion of tomorrow. That little bit of “tomorrow” is what makes you do a double take because it’s something that we are just not used to seeing worn yet. It’s a bit odd, a bit funny, and not always immediately flattering. But young designers have a way with reading the future, and giving way to new ideas on what can be considered cool or fashionable. All of this, is perhaps just around the corner…
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.
UPDATE: Lingerie-Look Fashion Show at Hankyu Umeda FNO!
Come visit the 3rd floor lingerie section on Saturday the 19th where I’ll be talking about some of the styling points, while floor models show off the goods. There will be two shows, one at 2pm and 4pm. Im looking forward to seeing everyone!
In fashion, it’s not unusual to see clothing with lace, satin, ribbons, and other details that point directly to lingerie. But it’s almost never actual lingerie. In fact, the most recent lingerie revolution happened in the 80s when Madonna broke on the scene with her cone bras and corsets on top of her clothes instead of under.
In fact, lingerie can look really really stylish when worn with normal clothing. In America, many girls will wear their satin slips as dresses to a party. In Japan, girls wear bralettes over vintage T-shirts. But the fact of the matter is that we spend a lot of money on bras and bustiers, slips and robes, and they never get seen. Nowadays, lingerie is just as stylish or even more stylish than what we wear on the outside. Lingerie can be worn with something conservative and comfortable to give it an edge. And conversely, it can make something really dark or hard look more feminine and soft. It’s my opinion that it is within our right of fashion freedom to play around with everything we’ve got in our closet to make an outfit look great.
And so I`ve teamed up with Wacoal to create Lingerie Looks. The challenge: to style pieces from 5 of their most prestigious brands with clothing already in my closet to make total outfits. Wacoal is a Kyoto-based family company that is now the number 3 largest inner wear company in the world. When it comes to their high-design, high-fashion lingerie, there are no less than 5 lines to choose from. Wacoal DIA, Studio 5, Trefle, Hanro and Simone Perle.
And so here, I offer 10 different ideas for styling real lingerie with fashion. Whether it’s colorful and loud or more demure, daytime, office, or party style, there should be a scene that fits your lifestyle.
So let’s see how Japan get’s it Lingerie Looks on.
On the surface, Tokyo and Berlin couldn’t be two worlds further apart; Berlin is gritty and tough while Tokyo is all buzzy neon and sterile as a hospital room. But it was my challenge to somehow find a connection between them, and although these two might not eat lunch at the same table, they are probably sitting back-to-back eating the same food because the parallels were so striking.
In fact, I might say that the fashion scene in Berlin is the most like Tokyo than anywhere else in the world. How so?