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Thursday, June 1, 2009
Fragrant fashions, high-brow specs, Vogue in 3-D, and Tokyo's own
By MISHA JANETTE and PAUL MCINNES
Tucked in the residential boroughs of Tokyo's Aobadai district in Meguro is a new intimate shop, Lilid 05, where the uplifting scent of fashion wafts you through its unassuming doors. The store opened at the end of April, but the Lilid 05 brand itself is also fairly new, only now in its second season. The label's concept is based on perfume, or the idea that a certain scent can become associated with a woman, much like styles of fashion do (hence the name's nudge at Chanel 5).
"I work around the idea that every woman is different, and she has a defining style all to herself," said the young but worldly 26-year-old designer Yuriko Nagano, who was once a teen magazine model before moving into design and production.
Lilid 05 is worlds apart from that market, and the items on its racks show this: huge beaded Indian collars, perfect pin-tucks on a tuxedo shirt, and sparkly black Swarovski accents, all added by hand in Japan. "I'm very dedicated to the details. The textiles are all original, down to the thread," explained Nagano.
A visit to the shop unannounced brought a pleasant surprise; the designer herself opened the doors and was ready to assist or explain in detail about the clothing. The store smelled of spicy sandalwood — a fittingly distinctive scent for this budding brand. (M.J.)
3-6-11 Aobadai, Meguro-ku Toykyo Tel:03-5428-5587 www.lilid05.jp
Alain Mikli has been the eyewear designer of choice for many of the world's celebs — including Brad Pitt and Elton John — for the last 30 years, and has an unparalleled reputation for making top-of-the-range designer frames at designer prices.
With stores dotted around the globe and a history of making eyewear for top apparel creators such as Jil Sander and Issey Miyake, he also finds time to design for films and music videos, including the famous shutter shades for Kanye West's "Stronger."
Mikli has surprised the style community by releasing a new, more affordable collection, "Brows," in an attempt to reach a wider market. Modest and chic, the line, which ranges from ¥35,700 to ¥39,900, uses laminations of acetate materials for the front and temple areas in addition to delicate cutting and arm flex hinges.
The collection of six frames, which come in various colors and patterns, is inspired by the spirit of the 1980s — which keeps in line with this summer's '80s sunglasses trend.
The Frenchman even made it over to his Minami-Aoyama flagship, which opened its doors in 1995, for the launch party. The store's cool interior was designed by frequent collaborator, friend and renowned product designer Philippe Starck. (P.M.)
Alain Mikli: 101 Minami-Aoyama, 5-5-25 Minato-Ku, Tokyo 107-0062. Tel: (03) 5485-1921
A kaleidoscope of fashion treasure awaits at the Vogue Nippon and Comme des Garcons "Magazine Alive!" collaborative shop which celebrates the magazine's 10th anniversary this year. Comme's designer Rei Kawakubo approached the magazine with her idea of creating a 3-D fashion-magazine experience, and the shop is piled high with aspirational and avant-garde items pulled directly from Vogue's pages by the Comme team.
Upstairs is a gallery, and each month a new artist is brought in to coincide with that month's issue of Vogue Nippon. This month's theme is "Manga and Mode," so the gallery has been taken over by who else but Takashi Murakami and his signature anime art-work sale of Murakami's favorite retro Sailor Moon toys (until June 27).
Labels such as Marc Jacobs and Celine created one-off pieces for the shop and there are limited runs of sequined Comme des Garcons suits. For a little souvenir, there are T-shirts that coincide with the manga artists who participated in this month's Vogue. Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld contributed by lending his mug for one T-shirt, and by creating anime marionette dolls that are strung up in the shop's window. Visit and experience the eclectic world of fashion. (M.J.)
Through the end of Nov. 5-12-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku Tel: (03) 5468-8301
Fashions straight outta Tokyo
TokyoMade, founded in 2006 by Masao Tamaoki and Deanne Tonking, is a one-stop hub for independent and one-of-a-kind design. The arty Web store has become one of the easiest ways of connecting Japan-based designers with customers from around the globe and vice-versa. More than 40 designers and artists are represented after being carefully selected by the ever-discerning Tamaoki and Tonking.
Divided into various sections, TokyoMade is easy to navigate and is packed with extra gems such as a regularly updated design-and-style blog, designer info and a useful gift-voucher area.
The "Tokyo Threads" tab mainly focuses on street style apparel such as T-shirts, scarves and ties.
It also carries beautifully crafted capes by emerging fashion label Nana + Seven.
"Tokyo Accessories" stocks necklaces, earrings and cute brooches, which would make a perfect gift for any Japanophiles abroad.
Meanwhile "Kimono Chic" jumps off the screen with traditional Japanese designs including Chieko Hata's Honmonoya label, which makes exquisitely patterned wraps, bags and kooky tabi (socklike boots), which are all made from vintage kimono silks.
The site, which has a fairly good dose of kawaii (cute), has some superb individual pieces which ultimately make TokyoMade a must-visit store for the shopper looking for something different from everyone else. (P.M.)
A storied label
Playful dandyism and understated elegance lies at the heart of Pascal Donquino, a menswear brand launched this year by designer Akira Takeuchi.
The label is a pet project for Takeuchi, who already has his work cut out for him as the male half of Tokyo mainstay brand Theatre Products.
Pascal Donquino, which drops the flash, is propped up by the history and stories that come with its fabrics and materials, which could be considered an exercise in the lost art of intuitive fashion storytelling once associated with most designer brands before mass production watered down the art form.
For Pascal Donquino, personality can be seen in its plaid wool and cashmere fabrics, provided by Lanificio Campore, from Italy's Biella area deep in the Alps and the second-oldest textile-maker in the area.
The shirts are made of cotton by Thomas Mason in the historic county of Lancashire, England, which has been producing high-quality fibers since the locomotive was introduced there allowing for advanced innovation in the early 1800s.
The plain toe shoes are crafted by a Japanese artisan from Kyushu who is versed in the art of bespoke, and taught himself to make shoes by hand on his family's sewing machine when he was in his teens.
Such stories culminate into one label that puts the background details in the forefront, expunging intimacy from its fiber core. (M.J.)
Available at Men's Isetan. For information, please call (03) 3462-9557.