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Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2006

Style wise

A new Adelaide

Until Aug. 1, Adelaide was a small but exclusive boutique tucked away on an Aoyama back street. Now, it's a bigger -- and ever so slightly less exclusive -- boutique just off stellar shopping strip Omotesando.

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While its previous incarnation did nothing to advertise its presence, this new store devotes its entire two-story facade to a giant logo. And why not, given that it comes courtesy of ultra-hot French art director duo M/M, whose clients include Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein and Balenciaga?

Adelaide owner Mamiko Hasegawa has enlisted the help of other ubercool creators in lending this environment a captivatingly artistic feel: German design duo Bless have been called in to create one of their arty installations, titled "Wallscape," and besides that, 14 bleeding-edge labels have agreed to create limited-edition products exclusive to the store.

Besides European superbrands like Balenciaga, Chloe and Marni, this stunning "select shop" carries a strong selection from Japanese labels Toga, Sacai and Suzuki Takayuki, which is sure to delight fans of the sensitive deconstructed looks that define Tokyo style.

Fans of online design would be well served to take a look at Adelaide's Web site, which showcases some very tasteful stop motion animation.

3-6-7 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo; tel: (03) 5474-0157. www.adelaide-addition.com

Bless is more

To celebrate their 10th anniversary, Berlin-based experimental fashion design duo Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag, aka Bless, is staging a series of exhibitions and events in Germany and Japan, home to the most loyal followers of their work.

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The pair is famed for arty fashion stunts such as making shoes that the buyer has to assemble and bags that are nothing more than a piece of leather that comes with two complimentary safety pins. They also do a line of interior goods that has included embroidered plants, a vacuum cleaner that doubles as a chair and beaded power cables. While other envelope-pushing design units tend to produce more commercially viable work as time goes by, Bless delight in staying as weird and wacky as they ever were.

Having wrapped up a three-month showcase at a museum in Rotterdam, the German mavens touched down in Japan late last month to kick off some Far Eastern festivities. The highlight of their tour is an exhibition at the Zucca flagship store in Aoyama, where images from a forthcoming monograph titled "Bless Book" will be on show until Aug. 31. Though some may find the show a teeny-weeny bit pretentious, it is nothing if not a mind-broadening experience.

Cabane de Zucca; 3-13-14 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo; tel: (03) 3470-7488; www.bless-service.de

Designers Against AIDS

Designers Against AIDS (D.A.A.) is an international AIDS awareness project that harnesses fashion credibility to re-introduce the fight against AIDS to the international media through T-shirts designed by famous fashion designers, music stars and artists.

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Now in its third season, the charity fashion brand's Fall/Winter lineup includes creations by provocative British designer Katharine Hamnett and electroclash group Chicks on Speed, as well as a re-edition of the popular humping dinosaur design by German wunderkind Bernhard Willhelm.

Half of the net proceeds from the sales of this collection will be donated to the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp to help fund its groundbreaking AIDS research. The T-shirts are available at stores across Japan, including Lastword in Harajuku, Tokyo and Hep Five, Osaka.

www.designersagainstaids.com

Punk glamour

Nobuhiko Kitamura, founder of the Hysteric Glamour brand, had his status as a street-fashion icon affirmed by a cameo in "Lost in Translation." His designs are inspired by trashy Americana of the 1960s and '70s, particularly cheesy glam rock, comics and soft porn: think AC/DC, Kiss, MAD and Hustler.

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Running since 1984, the brand has a huge cult following in Japan, and now includes home wares, kid's clothing and even a collection done in collaboration with the estate of Andy Warhol. The most recent stage in its ongoing expansion is a new, three-story flagship store close to the Bathing Ape shop in hip Aoyama.

Kitamura has long dabbled in the edgy end of the art world, publishing art books with photographer Daido Moriyama and Little More impresario Masakazu Takei, as well as designing album covers for the likes of Primal Scream.

This retro-punkstyle exponent also has a long-standing relationship with bad boy photographer Terry Richardson -- famed for raunchy pics snapped for clients like Gucci and Levis -- and he called on the U.S.-based shockmeister for the opening of the Aoyama store.

Down in the basement was the exhibition "Manimal," featuring 50 of Richardson's risque works personally selected by Kitamura. A book of the same name is available, as is a limited edition version that comes with a print photograph.

Hysteric Glamour; 5-5-3 Minami-Aoyama Minato-ku, Tokyo; tel : (03) 3478-8471 www.hystericglamour.jp


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