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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

STYLE WISE

Tokujin meets Swarovksi and other Japan style news


By PAUL McINNES and MISHA JANETTE
Special to The Japan Times

Planting the crystal flag

Now Swarovski's sparkly crystals can compete for that coveted spot as a girl's best friend since the luxury brand has opened its very own flagship store in Tokyo — a first for the company that's made precision-cut glass since 1895.

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The store is located in the Jewel Box Building in Ginza and spans 450 sq. meters over two floors that are brimming with seasonal accessories and Ginza-only limited-edition baubles. You can even custom-order Swarovski- encrusted objects of your own choosing to blingify all aspects of your life or simply choose from the Daniel Swarovski couture line of accessories, available in its entirety at the Ginza location.

The "Crystal Forest" theme of the shop comes from Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka. All subsequent new flagship shops and boutiques will follow his design, as will renovations to existing locations that will be initiated around the world this year. Inside, a thick column of crystal rains straight down from the 2nd floor to the 1st; the floor and stairs are filled wall-to-wall with oodles of sparkly glass; and countless mirrored prisms are suspended from the facade as if the store were a literal crystal mine tucked into a cave.

A monumental bash was held to celebrate at the end of March, with more celebs in tow than you could throw a fistful of rhinestones at. They poured into a specially erected dome by the dozens, including actress/singer/model Anna Tsuchiya (pictured above right with Daniel Swarovski CEO Robert Buchbauer), model Jessica Michibata, the notorious Kano sisters and TV personality Ikko among others, all arriving decked out head-to-toe in the sparkling Swiss crystals. (Misha Janette)

8-9-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3289-3700; www.swarovski.co.jp

I want my FTV!

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Because megamalls, magazines and even the multitude of Web sites out there are simply not enough for a true fashionista to stay on top of her game, a dedicated 24-hour fashion channel is now poised to fill in any gaps.

Fashion TV Japan has landed here from French shores where it was created in 1997. Since its origin, the channel has spread to 202 countries, earning fans for its quick turnaround of fashion news and insightful interviews. A myriad of 5-minute programs run in blocks of 30, covering all aspects of fashion, from the nitty-gritty inside info on collections, designers and models to the wider arena of films, music, DJs and celebrities.

In raw documentary-style programs, it gives a peak into the lives of those at the top of the fashion stratosphere. Check it out as the channel goes backstage with designers at shows in locations from Milan to Rio de Janeiro, then follow a top model as she reveals her typical whirlwind day.

With so much fashion news for you to catch up on, your TV's "off" button may become obsolete. (Misha Janette)

Beginning April 1, Fashion TV is available on SkyPerfect TV on channel 291 in the e2 package. www.ftv.co.jp

Oooh, heaven is a place online

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Japan Fashion Week wrapped up March 16, but the Tokyo Collection shows continue to roll through the end of April.

With all the Style Wise talk of brands, many might want to know where to turn to get their hands on these items outside of Tokyo's city limits. Now, thanks to the advent of online shopping boutiques Visport and Nuan+, anyone from Hokkaido to Okinawa can own a signature piece for themselves.

Visport ( www.visport.jp ) opened just in time for the tailend of last season and is a huge mall encompassing casual luxury brands such as Ato, G.V.G.V. and Han Ahn Soon (pictured), along with the conceptual duds of Kamishima Chinami, Matohu and Somarta. The cyber shop also features a lineup of limited-edition items such as household accessories from Ylang Ylang and an exclusive collaboration on minibags by MCM and Dresscamp.

What Visport doesn't carry, Nuan+ ( www.nuan.gr.jp ) surely does. Popular brands such as Theatre Products, Mindesigns and Hisui reside here, and the site offers interviews with the designers as well as of-the- moment reports on the brands' fashion shows, daily blurbs on the goings-on of the editors in the fashion world, and a seasonal magazine. With so many new outlets making Japanese brands available, the online world is becoming heaven incarnate for shopaholics — and a veritable Hades for your credit card! (Misha Janette)

A shoe-in for the Pong

April is all about Adidas. The sportswear superpower is taking over Tokyo with two spanking-new stores in Roppongi Hills and an exciting collaborative project with Italian denim lord Diesel.

With rumors that Roppongi Hills, already in its fifth year, is struggling to keep hold of its retail tenants — and its cool reputation — the new Adidas shops could give the highend shopping mall a much-needed injection of style.

Adidas Performance Center and Adidas Originals will both open this month, stocking the best the German shoe brand has to offer in fashionable sportswear. The Performance Center will include collaborative collections by Stella McCartney and Porsche Design, as well as Mi Adidas, a unique customization service where you can design your own shoe with a perfect fit.

With more than 1,000 items available from footwear, apparel and accessories, it's well worth a visit.

The Originals store will stock, among many other products, the first-ever collaboration between Adidas and Diesel. The denim range came about after Diesel founder Renzo Russo confessed his love for all things Adidas. The premium denims come in various styles and colors — from super black to treated dark blue — and sport a natty Adidas logo and super-cool three-stripe selvedge detailing. Both stores open on April 18. (Paul Mcinnes)

Roppongi Hills Metro Hat/Hollywood Plaza, 6-4-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo B1 and 1F; (03) 5771-1020 and (03) 5771-1022; www.adidas.com/jp

Once a Boycott, now a polite boy

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Significant shifts are taking place in the world of men's fashion. Exclusivity, elitism, pampering and luxury are no longer the sole domain of posh womenswear brands. The men are now in on the game too.

Former Gucci head honcho Tom Ford recently introduced (under his eponymous label) top-notch menswear boutiques for guys with the financial clout and fashion knowhow to rival their female counterparts from Manhattan to London and the world over. This year has also seen the opening — mentioned in January's Style Wise — of Hankyu Men's department store in Osaka. With multiple floors devoted to the best menswear brands from around the world — Dior Homme and Lanvin to Jil Sander and Maison Martin Margiela — Hankyu comes equipped with its own members' lounge for the megarich clientele that come to shop there.

Now, newly opened just for the gents, is the Politely VIP Salon in Tokyo's Ebisu. The salon is the baby of top Japanese designer Satoru Tanaka, a man with his fashionable fingers in many pies. He already runs two successful menswear lines — Satoru Tanaka and Politely Satoru Tanaka — in addition to fulfilling his role as creative director of the hip high-street chain Boycott. A designer himself, Tanaka is renowned for producing sleek suits and modern ready-to-wear clothes for fashion-forward young men who are willing to stylishly stand out.

Available to select customers, Politely VIP is opening on an appointment-only basis. That means that if you are lucky enough to get a time slot — it is open to all comers — by contacting the flagship store in Aoyama, you will have the salon, its expert staff and the facilities all to yourself. Luxurious, private and stocking the best that "Made in Japan" menswear has to offer, you'll think twice before overpaying for trashy European imports ever again. (Paul McInnes)

Ebisu Fort 3F, 1-24-2 Ebisu Minami, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3498-3497; www.satorutanaka.net



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