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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

STYLEWISE

Rooms, Tokyo Midtown, Terra Plana, Herchcovitch

Fashion for the filthy rich

Tokyo Midtown

The jewel in the crown of the Tokyo Midtown complex, style-wise, at least, is a 1,000-square-meter store from luxury fashion retailer Restir. Since renovating its Ginza flagship in 2005, Restir has been focusing on so-called megabrands like Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Fendi and Yves Saint Laurent.

With this latest venture, the store has scored a major coup by enlisting the cooperation of Chanel, the ultimate super-brand, which is exhibiting 11 pieces from its haute couture collection and selling its coveted handbags in the futuristic boutique's first floor atrium space until May 6. The three-meter high, neon-trimmed cutout image of Karl Lagerfeld that accompanies the exhibition is quite a sight.

Designed by Tokyo-resident interior maven Laur Meyrieux, the interior features an opulent black marble floor, sumptuous leathers for soft furnishings, dark-colored walls and a bewildering array of mirrors, which together achieve an intoxicating, disorientating effect. Meyrieux's coup de gra^ce are two gorgeous VIP rooms, where the store's fabulously wealthy clientele can unload their ill-gotten gains without fear of being disturbed by passing hoi polloi. With the Ritz due to open just next door, this store is sure to be a favorite among highfalutin' visitors to Tokyo, too.

1F Galleria, Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo; Tel: (03) 5413-3708; www.restir.com

Our recommended Midtown hightlights:
* Shu Sanctuary: Beauty salon for men and women overseen by makeup legend Shu Uemura
* Richard James: The Savile Row tailor's first shop outside London
* T. Square: Boutique stocking brands including Botkier, Annemie Verbeke and Jodi Mint
* J. Lindeberg: Minimalist store from the Swedish men's fashion and sportswear label

Room for fashion

Rooms

As the Japanese fashion industry strives to establish Tokyo as an international apparel business hub, one of its biggest success stories is Rooms, the nation's largest clothing and accessories trade fair. Staged inside the Roppongi Hills complex around the same time as Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo, the event is open only to industry types. But for those with an interest in what is going on behind those closed doors, Roomservice, the smart little bilingual guidebook to the event, and its Web site, are free for all to enjoy. Published twice a year in sync with Rooms, the 160-page booklet features scores of up-and-coming fashion labels from Japan and plenty of handy style-related info.

A list of pickup points and a virtual facsimile of its contents are online at www.roomservice-japan.org; interested parties may also want to check out the rather snazzy Rooms site: www.roomsroom.com

Boogie sights

Boogie

Serbian-born Boogie never planned to leave Belgrade, but when his circle of friends resolved to enter the U.S. green card lottery, he was the only one to win, and his buddies insisted he take the chance and try for a new life in the New World.

A photographer by trade, Boogie has risen to infamy by documenting the lives of inhabitants of New York's crack dens, the mafia-controlled areas of Naples and the favela (slums) of Brazil, among many other strife-torn areas. From April 28 to May 6, an exhibition of images from last year's monograph "It's All Good," as well as works taken especially for the NIKE Air Force 1 brand and first published in this season's issue of commons&sense magazine, will be held at Espace 218, above multilabel boutique L'Eclaireur Tokyo. The show will certainly not be for the faint-hearted.

4-21-26 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo; Tel: (03) 6406-0252.

Guilt-free footwear

Terra Plana

Despite that most brands that bill themselves as eco-friendly are not doing the earth any big favors, there are some ways that philanthropic types can let their wallets -- and their feet -- do the eco-talking. Inspired by Argentinian alpagartas, a traditional slip-on canvas shoe, Blake Mycoskie founded Tom's Shoes: Shoes for Tomorrow with a commitment that for every pair purchased he would donate one to children in need. With an operation under a year old, Mycowskie has already supplied over 10,000 pairs to needy South American families and plans to broaden his scope to Africa and Asia soon.

Another purveyor of eco-friendly footwear is Terra Plana, which uses recycled materials, including Indian silks, secondhand jackets, shirts and car seats to craft its stylish shoes. Put together with water-based glues and natural latex, and boasting cushioning made from recycled foam and boxes from recycled cardboard, these shoes are as environmentally friendly as it's possible to get. And thanks to designs from the folks behind cult shoe brand United Nude, they don't require any sacrifice in terms of style, either.

Terra Plana is available at Shoe Bar stores across Japan. www.shoebar.co.jp, www.terraplana.com See Tom's in action at www.tomsshoes.com

Brash Brazil

Alexandre Herchcovitch

Brazil's most feted pret-a-porter designer, Alexandre Herchcovitch, has opened a store in Tokyo's fashion enclave of Daikanyama.

Herchcovitch, whose resume boasts designing the kit for Brazil's Olympic athletes, a cellphone made in conjunction with the American manufacturer Motorola and even uniforms for McDonald's in his homeland, has a strong following here in Japan, where his loud prints and bright colors have won him many fans.

With a facade that features a double-edge razor blade design, the new 100-sq.-meter freestanding store displays women's wear on the first floor and men's wear in the basement. The store also boasts a wackily attired Brazilian salesperson who is on hand to give expert styling advice to any non-Japanese speakers.

The young Polish-Brazilian designer's collection line, which he shows on runways in both Sao Paolo and New York, currently features punkish African-inspired prints and tops accented with big beaded safety pins. Herchcovitch has also designed a casual line exclusively for the shop called Black Ltd. Edition, which is shown alongside the Judy Blame 'AND' Alexandre Herchcovitch line produced in collaboration with the British fashion icon. It is a capsule collection of oversize, inside-out and multicolored tank tops and T-shirts featuring combinations of the Brazilian's signature skull motif and Blame's trademark crown logo.

8-25 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; Tel: (03) 3463-1027.



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