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Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010
Fashion that blooms, rocks, roars and parties
By MISHA JANETTE and PAUL McINNES
Photographer Mika Ninagawa is full of flower power: Her signature acid-colored shots of buds bursting into bloom have made her one of the most well-known and popular photographers in the industry today. She has had at least 47 photo-collection books published since 1998; twice as many gallery exhibitions in the same period; and she shot to further fame after directing the 2007 film "Sakuran," starring singer/actress Anna Tsuchiya.
It was that first foray into movies that introduced Ninagawa's vivid dreamlike style to the masses, and now she's crossing mediums again with a seven-piece capsule collection, made in collaboration with Los Angeles-based premium denim brand 7 For All Mankind.
Ninagawa often dabbles in fashion photography, pairing macro shots of vibrant flowers with young women; the erotic "blossoming" undertones of her work going hand-in-hand with bright, tight and sexy clothing. Her pieces include skinny jeans overlaid with dark prints of flowers and vines creating a shadowy effect (from ¥27,090), cheeky-short shorts with vivid-colored pocket linings jutting from the hems (¥24,990) and T-shirts for men and women covered in photographic prints of lilies, orchids and roses in brilliant colors (¥12,600).
"I went out and took so many photographs for the project that the hardest part was whittling them down to the few we'd use," said Ninagawa at the collaboration launch in August. As if a symbolic bouquet of flowers from Tokyo, the blossoming styles will be available in 7 For All Mankind stores across Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States.
24-4 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku; (03)-5458-4711; www.7forallmankind.com
Tokyo's hedonistic night of fashion and fun
The huge stylish block party Fashion's Night Out is happening between Aoyama and Harajuku from Sept. 10; and with more than 350 stores participating, drawing up a shopping game plan will be tough. So here's a shortlist of a few unique events that should guarantee a successfully fabulous night anyway.
Gucci on Omotesando plans a live in-store photo shoot with a fashion photographer, where wannabe supermodels can try on items personally selected by Gucci Head Designer Frida Gianini. There's a rumor that supermodel Ai Tominaga may be stopping by to show fashion fans how it's really done. Mitsuko Watanabe, Vogue Nippon's editor in chief, and Tominaga will also be holding a special fashion seminar on the newest trends for the coming fall and winter.
Many Harajuku street stores are joining in this year, so while checking out those, be sure to swing by The Ice Cream Store, which houses urban duds by the Billionaire Boys Club brand. Like last year, there will be an ice-cream truck parked out front serving up treats for shoppers to enjoy while perusing the wares, which will be priced at 30 percent off. Pharell Williams of NERD produces the brand, so if all goes well there will be a video of a special performance at the flagship store in New York, as that city's own FNO is being held just hours before Tokyo's.
Finally, for the last hurrah of a night of mass consumption (whether in clothes or champagne) go to the 3.1 Phillip Lim in Aoyama, where a professional stylist will personalize your shopping experience (appointment needed, call  6418-5070) as female DJ superpowers Mayu Kondo and Shiho Fujisawa of Punkadelix will be pumping beats into the night. (M.J.)
For a full list of events, visit www.fashionsnightout.jp
Galliano's rock scene
January's Milan menswear collections saw Galliano, the latest in a succession of diffusion lines, mark British designer John Galliano's vision of bringing his signature looks to the high street.
Inspired by the attitude and anarchy of the London rock scene, the first collection, for fall-winter, is titled "Phenomenon and Legend Rock." It consists of leather jackets, coats, T-shirts, stonewashed/distressed denim, tartan wool and a variety of knits that all fit perfectly into the contemporary Japanese fashion aesthetic.
Galliano was originally established as a womenswear line, and the first Japanese Galliano store, which opened last year in Tokyo's Omotesando Hills, has recently been remodeled to incorporate the new men's project. The store is the first of many as Japanese partner IPGI seek to expand in major cities in the next few years.
Targeting 18 to 35-year-olds, the inaugural men's collection is youthful, dynamic and illustrates Galliano's endorsement that he would never design something for men that he wouldn't wear himself. The collection also includes liberal use of the famous Galliano gazette print, which is sure to please the its of Japanese devotees. Although it's a diffusion line, Galliano comes in at the more expensive end of the scale. (Paul McInnes)
4-12-10 1F Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; (03) 3479-8688; www.johngalliano.com
Toshikazu Iwaya helps Onitsuka Tiger roar
Two years ago, designer Toshikazu Iwaya left his post at DressCamp to head the new brand Dress33. But to everyone's surprise, after only three seasons Dress33 shuttered its doors this summer. Like a cat, however, Iwaya always lands on his feet. He has already been working as head of apparel design for Japanese athletic brand Onitsuka Tiger and is now director of a new collection called the Top Impact Line.
The Impact collection is a continuation of Iwaya's "totally Tokyo" streetwear aesthetic that is one-part glam and two-parts kitsch. For menswear, a print of a pose-happy comic-book superhero wearing a tiger mask covers backpacks and windbreakers, and meggings are paired with neon-colored slip-on sneakers. For women, he offers a funky jailbird-print ensemble with an exaggerated tent-shaped top and shiny gold gym bags.
Onitsuka Tiger is a 60-year-old operation based in Osaka that has been working on strengthening its global image since last year. As part of that plan, Iwaya has been signed up for at least three years. He says, "I can't wait to do more — to make active wear more exciting." (M.J.)
20-7 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku; (03) 5489-1711 www.asics.co.jp/onitsukatiger
The bazaar life of Kogane
After World War II, the Kogane-cho area in Yokohama City became a red-light district that even made the police nervous. It was not until 2005, under the banner of "Operation Bye-bye," that the area was finally cleaned up. Five years later, and Kogane is now a welcoming area that's popular with artists and young creatives.
To celebrate this change, an annual "Kogane-cho Bazaar" has taken place since 2008. This year it begins on Sept. 10, lasting a month, and includes galleries, events, concerts and temporary booths manned by unique shops.
"When I was given a tour of Kogane, I went into some of the abandoned brothels and there were tiny rooms full of spiders, with mattresses and alcohol bottles still on the floor. It was a bit scary at first," said Haruko Okano, designer and owner of Harcoza, a quirky Daikanyama clothing boutique that is taking part in the bazaar.
Despite its unpleasantness, Okano was inspired by her experience and decided to create bags out of awning fabric, the same kind of material that was once used to display the names of women inside Kogane brothels. "I design to please, but I also design to reveal truths while bringing positive action," Okano said. (M.J.)
From Sept. 10-Oct. 11, Hinode-cho Station (Keikyu Line); www.koganecho.net/koganecho_bazaar_2010