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Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009
Time for openings, a night out and second-hand style
THE opening ceremony
Already successful in New York and Los Angeles, Opening Ceremony has now brought its mini-megamall concept to Tokyo, taking over eight floors of the Seibu Movida building in Shibuya. Fearless at approaching labels and artists, Opening Ceremony has spearheaded collaborations with actress Chloe Sevigny and director Spike Jonze, was the first to bring Topshop and Cheap Monday out of their respective home countries.
"I'm shocked at how cooperative all of these artists and companies have been when we approach them to work with us. We just want a store that houses everything we like — the whole store was born out of a love for shopping," said CEO Carol Lim. "It all started when we went on a trip to Hong Kong and were amazed at how people consume there. They buy expensive things in the shops and then turn around and shop at the flea market. We wanted to create a space that would mimic that 'total shopping' range," adds creative director Humberto Leon.
Lim and Leon, who have been best friends since college, opened Opening Ceremony in New York in 2002. The shop's strategy is to choose one country a year, and then pit that country's known and unknown brands, books, CDs and magazines against each other — much like althetes at the Olympics, an idea on which they based their concept on.
For the Tokyo opening on Aug. 8, actress Kirsten Dunst, the Olsen twins, and model Erin Wasson were among the A-list faces who came to support Lim and Leon as they invite Tokyo into a new arena of Olympic-size consumption.
21-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya; (03) 5456-4540; www.openingceremony.us
A fashionable night out on the town
Strap on your most fashionable (but sturdy) shoes and get ready for a hefty night on the town for Vogue's "Fashion's Night Out" block party on Sept. 11. While festivities will mainly be in the Omotesando/Aoyama area, a dizzying 200 shops will be participating with the sole aim to bring some fun and flair back into the struggling shopping scene. Singer-actress Anna Tsuchiya will be giving a live performance at Omotesando Hills, joining the likes of supermodel Ai Tominaga in a lineup of stars that are hoped to attract the masses to the stores. To further entice shoppers to flit between stores with a champagne flute in one hand and a wallet in the other, a stamp rally with luxury prizes is being held. There will also be the opportunity to buy special-edition brand items and participate in an auction of Tominaga's personal items, the proceeds of which will go to Children Without Borders and the Keyaki funds. Participating stores run the gamut from luxury to casual with Dior, Burberry, and Comme des Garcons, The North Face, Diesel, and Chrome Hearts to name a few. No tickets or VIP treatment. Anyone and everyone interested in shopping is invited.
For information, see www.vogue.co.jp/fno
Cybèle's snakes move up the ladder
New Zealand designer Cybèle Wiren's bubbly personality, matched by her pixie-like visage, has been reflected in her brand Cybèle's signature silk pieces of bold graphic statements splashed in colorful gradations. That does not mean, however, that she's afraid of getting down and gritty. Her recent "Serpentine" collection uses snake imagery in abstract forms, painted on with drippy brush strokes. Her aesthetic jogs between casual to urban, and this range has made her popular with Japanese boutiques, making this her third-largest market after New Zealand and Australia. To further strengthen ties, the designer was recently in Tokyo commemorating an exclusive collaboration with retailer American Rag Cie.
"I always wanted to do something special in Japan so it started with 'Let's do a collaboration,' then 'let's do a reception,' and then, 'oh, let's do a film too!,' " said the designer. Exclusive items include a T-shirt dress (¥22,000) and cut-sew top (¥19,000), which expound on her print aesthetic with swipes of gold/bronze and silver/pewter along the shoulders, creating a cool metallic sheen.
5-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku; (03) 5766-8739; www.cybele.co.nz
Pass on some style
Pass the Baton operates rather like a market place, where prices of items for sale have been decided by their previous owners before being displayed in the store. Sellers can be anyone with a passion for collecting things or a creator who wishes to take a shot at selling goods. The store accepts gently used items, antiques and new pieces of clothing, knick-knacks and household goods. It's based on the concept of recycling, as in "passing on one's personal culture," as well as the old adage that one man's trash is another's treasure.
While a bricks-and-mortar shop opened in Marunouchi on Sept. 3, the greater appeal lies in the online store (launching in November), which is set up much like a social community with the seller's photo and profile included on their items' sale page. It's similar to the popular U.S. craft and vintage online store etsy.com. However, Pass the Baton is more altruistic, giving sellers the option to donate all or part of their sales to a carefully selected but varied group of nonprofit organizations.
A list of contributors confirmed for the launch include Japanese brand Theatre Products, actor Tadanobu Asano, interior shop Cibone, and French artist Item Idem.
2-6-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku; (03) 6269-9555; www.pass-the-baton.com
Bringing heavy-duty elegance to Osaka
Like many of the luxury labels before it, the legend of Moncler began with one item. In this case it was a down jacket designed in 1954 to shelter workers in the French Alps. Since then, the label has evolved to become a globally recognized brand, as well as the de facto line to go to for heavy-duty yet chic outerwear.
The label has now opened its first men's and ladies' shops in Japan, both exclusively Moncler, in Osaka's Hankyu Umeda Department store on Aug. 28 and Sept. 3 respectively. The menswear store, Garage D.Edit Moncler (in the Hankyu men's building) carries the brand's main line as well as Moncler Gamme Bleu, the new Thom Browne-designed line that debuted earlier this year.
The ladies store sells the main collection as well as Moncler Gamme Rouge, which is entrusted to designer Giambattista Valli. Moncler has also collaborated with Chitose Abe of Sacai to create Moncler S, a fantastic line that boasts deconstructed feminine details juxtaposed with the signature rugged Moncler aesthetic and set to debut later this year.
6F 7-8 Kakuda-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka; (06) 6313-7416; www.moncler.com