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Sunday, March 25, 2007



Special to The Japan Times

While most of the menswear brands currently causing a stir in Japan proffer a dark, distressed rock-inspired look, Daisuke Obana, aka Mister Hollywood, the man behind the N. Hoolywood line, works with a far more sensitive, thoughtful young man in mind.

News photo
N. Hollywood

It is only fitting, then, that he should choose to have his collections modeled by sensitive, thoughtful-looking young men. But while Dior Homme maestro Hedi Slimane has turned thrusting, pubescent first-timers onto the catwalk into an art form, finding the young amateur Caucasian models required for a cutting-edge menswear show is a fraught task in Tokyo.

Mister Hollywood's casting is orchestrated by stylist Tsuyoshi Niimura, who also works with men's labels Lad Musician and Soe. He scours the American School in Japan and other high schools for likely-looking lads, who are then sent out alongside a handful of professionals. The problem is that while this cast of awkward young things has a great deal of impact compared to those of other Tokyo menswear outfits, it seems far less impressive when set alongside Paris-based competitors' lineups.

A lack of decent models is one of Japanese fashion's greatest weaknesses. As the great Karl Lagerfeld once pronounced: "A fashion show without top models is topless." And so, while there are plenty of other good incentives to abandon Tokyo, N. Hoolywood will end up staging its runway shows in the French capital before long -- like almost every other successful fashion brand here. Its shows are sure to be better for it, too.

See related stories:

JFW: An outsider looks in
Young Tokyo designers set to grace the world's runways

Kookiness on a high at fast-rising brand
Pure glam
Full color
Dark finesse
Harking back
Second skins
Sprout fusion

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