The culture of women’s fashion varies across borders far and wide, but whether you’re a girl in Paris or Phuket there’s one thing we all need just the same: bras and underwear. But when it comes to the approach taken to designing and selling these delicates…. well THAT is where the divides are as vast as the oceans. I’ve already talked about “mote-kei” (pretty style) and how sex appeal is different in Japan. But just how different? From functional common sense to how they are showing off (or not) to the opposite sex…let’s check in with the upper echelons of Japanese lingerie this time to see.
It’s a tale as old as time…anyone with an interest in fashion and shopping for the latest luxury brand has had to come to terms with how much they’ve really got in their pocket to spend.
I’m always have to work for what I buy. So shopping in a big luxury brand’s shop has never been less than intimidating, and having sales staff judge you for how you look is a part of life in my home-country of the US and…. most parts in the world, frankly. But Japan is…different. As a nation with mostly middle-class shoppers, feeling judged against the rich patrons of the world is probably a fairly new phenomenon.
As such, a huge part of the population (mostly young people) is getting more and more turned off by luxury shopping in Japan. When a person is old enough they start caring about what sales people think of them less and less. But when young people are in their formidable late teens or early 20s, having a bad impression in designer shops is something very hard to turn around. And thus, cheaper stores with an easy-going atmosphere are thriving.
Here at TFD we asked some sales people at high-end stores about the current atmosphere of young shoppers in Tokyo, and what they think of them. Finally, we talked to a Japanese girl in her early 20s about how she feels shopping for designer and luxury shopping in Japan these days.
That’s an Anna Sui Paradise Kiss wallet, just rub your eyes to make sure you’re not seeing anything.
Look at all of these cute little bags and tschochkes. If you aren’t from Japan then you might dismiss them as just being any ol’ kawaii characters, but let me tell you this is BIG. These are some of the biggest manga in Japanese history… think Fraggle Rock, Betty Boop, Jem and Secret of Nimh-level beloved. And they are being immortalized in accessories as a collaboration with Anna Sui. And while these cartoon collabs are a dime a dozen these days, this one is dare I say— really, really well done.
Louis Vuitton was founded in 1854, which was the end of the era known as “Edo” in Japan (~1868) and a period in which a number of treasured arts such as geisha, ukiyo-e, and Kabuki were born. Louis Vuitton’s Omotesando store has only been around since 2002, but on the occasion of its 13th birthday, the interior saw a total remodel and re-opened earlier this year to the public. Finally last week we were invited for a housewarming party which paid tribute to the Edo period with a traditonal cherry blossom party (o-hanami). A live blooming sakura tree commanded the center of the room while ninjas manned the door, and we were treated to a Kabuki performance by one of the most popular and promising young Kabuki actors Matsuya Onoe. As you’ll see, it was a trip through time in more ways that one…
私の好きな英語の表現、「Like bees to honey」。蜂が甘い蜜にわんさと集まるというように、東京っ子が大好きなMiuMiuの新ショップとそのパーティで大集合した。そう、盛大で美しいパーティが行われ、そこには国内外の業界人や有名人（夏木マリ、梨花、菊池凛乎など）、中には広告を飾っている女優のミアゴスも招待されていたり、しかもラフシモンズとそのボーイフレンドといったスペシャルゲストまで招かれ（なーんて噂を聞いて）、とても盛り上がった。
Tokyoites love miumiu like they love drinking on weekdays. So it was no surprise that a new standalone boutique on Omotesando would make for incredible fanfare. Yes, there was a huge, beautiful party that brought out the ENTIRE industry from here Beijing to Denmark. They even invited over the actresses in their current ads like Mia Goth, and even had special guest Raf Simons and his boyfriend to Tokyo to join in the revelry.Take a look at the recent addition to possibly the world’s most decadently decorated shopping street in Aoyama, Tokyo.
There is one reason that vending machines, nail polish display racks, and fabric stores get me excited: the pretty array of colors! Clothing stores don’t usually separate their goods by color, but instead by style or brand; and yet, I find my own closet to often be organized (used here very….loosely) by color and tone. Perhaps we SHOULD be shopping by color more often? That’s where IROYA comes in. It’s a concept shop that sells goods by color, and I think it is one of the best stores in Tokyo.
The first time I stood at the Shibuya scramble crosswalk, I felt like I was at point zero. This was the vortex of every facet of pop culture in the world and I was in the middle of it all. When you cross it, you are surrounded by a flurry of people, all just using this as a thoroughway to some other destination. Aside from tourists, you won’t often see anyone stopping to take in the scenery or see a show on the corner. Times Square may be a tourist hotspot, but Shibuya scramble is no city-center Disneyland… or is it? To be honest, I have crossed that thing 367,892 times and aside from a few glances at the big Jumbo Screen or a stop at Starbucks on the first floor of Tsutaya, I never really stopped and looked at what was in all of those buildings and floors at the crosswalk. So one day, I decided to see what was actually there. In the end, there was so much to cover it took a whole day to get through it all. In fact, I found it to be a concentrated one-stop tour of both traditional and modern Tokyo, with some amazing views thrown in.
1952年のスクランブル！ツタヤとか、わかるかな？ Photo of the scramble in 1952. The drug store is on the far right, with Tsutaya being above it today. The upper middle “Y” is where 109 Mall is. Top photos: Wikipedia Commons
Sometimes when I`m writing this blog I forget that I have been here for 10 years and that not everyone already knows all of the best places to go visit or shopping. I often feel like I am talking only to other fashion people or other veterans of the local industry, but I know that many people still come to Tokyo for the first time, or don’t often get the chance to shop like locals. I get a LOT of requests from fan overseas on where to shop when they come. And I realized I NEVER made a section on this blog about the best Tokyo Shopping! So now I am starting! Announcing my new corner: “Tokyo’s Best Shopping” which you can find the link to at the side bar.
And even better, I am writing about all of this on ANA’s popular “Is Japan Cool?” web-zine as a columnist. This site contains tons of information on the best that Japan has to offer to people around the world. you’ll find basic intros there and here on the blog I will be giving the deep and dirty information on the shop because I talk too much.
こうしてブログを書いていると、ときに日本へ来て10年経つことを忘れてしまう。そして、決して皆がみんな、立ち寄ったり買い物をするのにいい場所を知っている訳ではないという事も。つい、ファッションピーポーや、ベテラン業界人の皆さんに向けて書いてしまいがちだ。でも、ミーシャの強みは外国人目線から観た東京ファッションを発信出来るという事。そしてかっこいいと感じたものを英語で発信できるということ。海外の読者から本当に沢山よせられるリクエスト、”日本でショッピングするにはどこへいけばいいか”。そこで気付いたんだけど、実は東京ショッピングのコーナーは設けていなかった！ということではじめます！新コーナー”Tokyo’s Best Shopping” サイドバーに黄色いリンクバナーがあるので、そこから飛べます。
また、ANAの人気”Is Japan Cool?”ウェブジン(ウェブマガジン)でコラムニストとして東京を紹介しているのでこちらも見てみてください。このサイトでは、日本から海外へ発信すべき情報を大量に扱っています。発信者のひとりとして関わらせていただき、すごく光栄！トピックは自由に選べるので、本当にベストと思う情報を流していきたいと思います。ショップやイベントをウィットに富んだ英語で紹介しているので、チャレンジ精神旺盛な方はぜひ読んでみてください！さて、このブログではみなさんに楽しんでいただけるようにもう少し深みのあるショップインフォメーションを書いていきますよー。
Number 1: DOG Harajuku
Getting total freedom to tout the wonders of Tokyo’s fashion scene for a blog means I am faced with deciding where to even start. The fashion scene here is varied and can go from quaint to incredibly extreme. But since I live on the edge (and if you are traveling to Japan I’d say they’re adventurous too), we might as well start with a BANG. Just what is it about this store that makes it irresistible to visitors AND locals alike?