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Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008
Jimmy Choo, Mickey Mouse, Fred Perry and more
By MISHA JANETTE and PAUL McINNES
Disney has inspired a lot of people, from little girls to Superbowl champions. Even designer Vivienne Tam has now taken inspiration from her childhood and decided to pay tribute to the famous mouse with a capsule collection of playful dresses for this fall/winter season.
The collection was first presented on the New York runway last year, after which it was taken to Hong Kong in January for a show at Disneyland during Chinese New Year. The China-born, Hong Kong-raised Tam, who is now based in New York, is known for modern pieces that mix in small reworked touches from traditional Chinese designs.
The Mickey and Minnie motifs are large embroidered appliques on Mandarin dresses and chic sheaths. Tam has received many awards for her work in China, including the Best Chinese Designer of the Year and Outstanding Female Entrepreneur. The feeling seems to be true globally — for this limited- edition collection in particular, dresses are being snapped up as soon as they become available.
Getting your hands on one could mean the happiest place on Earth is actually in your closet.
For more information call (03) 5467-1915.
A Choo in Ginza
"So tell me, what is your favorite Choo?"
"Oh, that would be Glenys over here. She's a real beauty."
That's Joshua Schulman, CEO of London-based shoe brand Jimmy Choo, speaking about a model at the hot brand's new Ginza flagship store on Miyuki Street. Schulman was in town for its opening on July 26.
Though it already had three Jimmy Choo stores in Tokyo, the company had been waiting for prime real estate to open up in the global-fashion district. The store's interior is as glamorous as it's luxe heels, with mother-of-pearl finishes, satin boiserie walls and crystal chandeliers. Plus, the two-story boutique is big enough to house one of the most comprehensive shoe collections in Japan, along with new bag and sunglass lines.
The opening of the Ginza flagship is one of several steps in a broader expansion for the shoe brand, with a shop in Ikebukuro Seibu opening this month and another free-standing location at Kobe Daimaru in September. Founded in 1996 in the U.K., Jimmy Choo shot to household-name recognition thanks to the U.S. TV program "Sex and the City," which often featured the stylish shoes as worship-worthy items. Glenys, the strappy heel of green python with a decorative exposed gold zipper running up the foot, would unquestionably have been a goddess to Carrie and crew.
6-7-2 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5537-2115; www.jimmychoo.com
In just four years since its inception, Japanese brand Beautiful People has built a solid reputation for innovative and engineered fashion design. Led by designer Hidenori Kumakiri, the label has been trying to challenge common ideas about modern clothing by producing collections that can be worn by both kids and adults.
In the world of Beautiful People, a full length coat for a 10-year-old girl instantly becomes a short, perfectly fitted jacket for someone older. With clothing for kids aged 5-9, preteens aged 10-14 and women of all ages, the maverick brand has recently released the details of a new fall/winter campaign that includes everything from suits and work wear to knitwear. The highlights are simple and elegant two-piece suits and a cool collection of suspender skirts and colorful overalls with a playful yet refined tone.
The kids' line has some charming and sophisticated woolen trench coats, Melton pea coats and stadium jumpers that can also be enjoyed by any older sisters in the family or even mum.
With attention to detail, a spectrum of colors to choose from and fun designs, the collections are fantastic for stylish young women and kids alike.
Beautiful People's collections are available from retailers around Japan, including super-boutique Loveless, Isetan Re-style and a selection of the popular United Arrows shops. See Beautiful People's Web site for full list: www.beautiful-people.jp
The Fred Perry brand, which launched its iconic cotton pique shirt in 1952, has a legendary status. An English classic for decades, the shirt with the laurel logo has been the symbol of Mod culture since it began in the '60s.
Over the last few years, the label has teamed up with a succession of designers in an array of collaborations that also place the company at the forefront of trendsetting style. Comme des Garcons and Head Porter are some of the brands that have worked with Fred Perry in the past few seasons while more recently Raf Simons and musician Paul Weller — "The Modfather" — have lent their names to various projects. But the standout of the lot is the tieup with Japanese super stylist and fashion expert Tomoki Sukezane.
Sukezane has produced a perfect preppy boucle-yarn blazer (¥61,950) that is ideal for the ultimate collegiate look. The stylist himself advises pairing it with a simple polo or Oxford button-down shirt and bow tie. He has also produced a series of cashmere sweaters (¥47,250) available in black, gray, privet green and pink. The sweaters come with Fred Perry's laurel motif and leather elbow patches.
Available from Fred Perry Laurel Store at 5-12-14 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5468-5605; www.fredperry.jp
Cutie girls explained
Ever heard of Salon-kei boys, Cutie girls, or Yuru-nachu? The terms respectively describe fashion-conscious pretty boys, artsy fashion-students and a relaxed style of dress for girls, and you'll encounter them all — as well as plenty of others — on fashion site Mekas. Publicly launched in July, the Web site dedicated to chronicling and explaining Japanese fashion eschews the more obvious postings of cosplayer sightings in Harajuku. Instead, founder W. David Marx and his team explain the origin of a particular trend, why it's done, and where they see it going in the future, perhaps with a comment from a designer or sociologist thrown in the mix.
"A lot of basic information about the Japanese market is never translated over to English, and lots of bad information — such as the 'fact' that 94.3 percent of Japanese women in their 20s own Louis Vuitton bags — is repeated over and over again," says Marx. "So we felt providing the latest news and information was necessary."
While accessing some content requires membership, there are enough free articles available to get a thorough introductory lesson on Japanese fashion, Cutie girls and all.
For more information, visit www.mekas.jp