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Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Stylist Meets,' M.A.C. cosmetics for men, Juicy Couture . . .
By MARTIN WEBB
You're an ad exec who needs to make sure the celebrity you've hired to endorse your product is wearing flattering, up-to-the-minute gear. Who you gonna call? A top-notch stylist, that's who. Same goes for magazine editors who have pages to fill with the latest looks and fashion designers who need somebody with excellent taste to tell them which pieces to match with one another for their shows.
It's quite astounding just how many of these clothing coordinators Japan Inc. supports. Industry insiders claim there are as many as 300 of them in Tokyo alone, and those with a modicum of fame command astronomical fees.
"Stylist Meets," an exhibition currently running at Laforet Museum in Harajuku, gives an illuminating insight into the world of fashion, music videos and ad campaigns. Star stylists are paired off with creators from related fields to come up with installations inside spaces made to resemble one-room apartments.
Participants include superstylist Kyoko Fushimi, the woman behind the wacky outfits of singers UA and Misia; manga artist Nameko Shinsan; avant-garde dance performance collective Aura and calligraphy artist Shuko Tsuchiya, who is famed for splashing ink onto naked dancing girls at live painting events. As a showcase for some of Japan's most creative minds, this exhibition is a must-see.
"Stylist Meets," April 27-May 5, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., LaForet Museum, Harajuku; tel. (03) 3475-0411. www.laforet.ne.jp
While skincare products targeted at male consumers have proved big sellers worldwide, makeup for men still appeals only to a tiny market of die-hard metrosexuals in the mold of sarong-wearing David Beckham. That, however, hasn't stopped several big cosmetics firms launching lines of eye shadow, mascara and lip gloss for masculine visages.
The latest of these launches is M.A.C. Boy Beauty, which was unveiled at a modest party held at the brand's Omotesando Hills location in conjunction with Iliad, the much-vaunted menswear label masterminded by the Adonis-like Gentaro Noda.
This new line is essentially a repacking of staples from the main M.A.C. collection, and includes easily adoptable items like a clear lip conditioner stick (1,575 yen) and eyebrow brush (3,465 yen) as well products most likely to be put to good use by only the most flamboyant nightclub prowlers or the front men of glam rock bands, such as as moody blue nail lacquer (1,785 yen) and a palette of four eye-shadow colors (4,757 yen).
With David Beckham endorsing beauty salon chain TBC and Richard Gere doing the same for Dandy House, more and more males are willing to spend money on the finer points of their appearance. Does this represent a feminization of the Japanese man?
Available at M.A.C. makeup counters nationwide. www.mac cosmetics.co.jp
Cool down to a T
On the fifth floor of an inconspicuous building on a quiet street where Ebisu turns into Daikanyama used to be a dingy little lounge bar called Instant Cafe. Its demise, though, is not unwelcome, as the new tenant offers a fun-filled fusion of fashion and nocturnal frolics.
During the daytime the space is Notavle, a store selling high quality hand-stenciled T-shirts from the brand of the same name. At 8 p.m. the designer Nob and his brother Tadashi transform the store into a bar that stays open until 5 a.m. Christened Torso Bar 5F Show, its motto is "Every day is the party."
The Notavle motto is "No T-shirt, No Life," and the current collection, titled "Smally Happiness," is packed with uplifting Pop Art-inspired images such as rainbows, Coke bottles and a French-kissing couple. This is a great place to come for a giggle, but be warned that the products on offer are extremely hard to resist.
Notavle/Torso Bar 5F Show, 5F Daikanyama Techno Bldg. 2-9-9 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. Tel: (03) 3476-1499.
Whittle me do
Ichiro Tanida began his career as a graphic designer, winning numerous awards before turning his hand to directing TV commercials in the mid-'90s. Besides directing around 30 ads a year, this soft-spoken creator spends a large amount of his time whittling driftwood into primitive-looking sculptures that resemble African totems, with a vaguely Christian vibe. Over the last 10 years he has carved over 80 of the figures, which first went on show at the Ginza Graphic Gallery in September last year.
Tanida has now decided to put his art on sale, and chose Family, one of Tokyo's most sophisticated fashion boutiques as his dealer. Located in Nakameguro, the store carries high-end pre^t-a-porter from the likes of Martin Margiela and Rick Owens, as well as the fabulous footwear of Pierre Hardy. The threads don't come cheap -- the store is currently displaying a Balenciaga dress priced at 1.8 million yen -- and neither do Tanida's driftwood dolls. Ranging from 50,000 yen to 300,000 yen, they may not be easy on the wallet, but a lot of love has gone into the carvings, and they will certainly be a talking point at dinner parties -- as would most of the clothes on sale at Family.
Family, 1-16-4 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, To kyo; tel. (03) 5725-2570; www.jjd.co.jp
You look fabulous, sugar
Famed for garish purple and pink velour tracksuits with the word JUICY emblazoned across the butt, antifashion fashion brand Juicy Couture has amassed a huge fan base that once included the likes of Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.
The Southern California-based label has used its popularity with top celebrities to shift vast quantities of their accessibly priced ultra-casual gear. In addition to clothing, it now offers accessories, bags and sunglasses for women, as well as items for men and kids.
The inevitable Tokyo store launch took place last week, with the brand's first ever flagship opened next to A Bathing Ape in the posh Aoyama district. Charles Baudelaire once wrote that "What is exhilarating about bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of giving offense." For those who fancy pretending to be Hollywood nobility or projecting an "I'm so rich I can dress like trailer trash and still look fabulous" vibe, this flamingo-pink temple to tack is the place to come.
5-5-8 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Tel: (03) 5766-2237.