|

Harajuku and Omotesando: Where pop and luxury fashion are friendly neighbors

by Misha Janette and Samuel Thomas

A Fashionable ‘pearing’

A shrill and rather bouncy yellow pear has captured the public’s imagination. Funassyi, an unofficial city mascot of Funabashi in Chiba Prefecture, takes its name from “Funabashi” and “nashi,” the Japanese word for “pear.” It has become so popular that it’s already close to saturating the media — and now, the affable character seems to have its cute eyes on the world of fashion.

Laforet Harajuku mall, the hub of Tokyo youth fashion, is promoting 13 different brands offering their own takes of Funassyi in their respective fashion genres. These range from Sweet-Lolita fashion line Angelic Pretty placing a bonnet on the character as it rides a unicorn, to gothic-punk HellCatPunks splattering the pear in blood. Chiba Prefecture may not consider Funassyi the official mascot of Funabashi, but it’s still taking Japan by storm. (ST)

The Funassyi Collection in Laforet runs till May 18 at Laforet Harajuku, 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-3475-0411. www.laforet.ne.jp/special/funassyi

Omotesando ups the ante

Omotesando promenade is becoming even more of a luxurious shopping destination with a recent slew of high-end shop openings. At the Omotesando crossing, French luxury house Balenciaga opened quietly on March 29, with the gothic-couture stylings of Alexander McQueen soon to set up next door. Both are the first freestanding flagships in Japan. Kitty-corner to them, in the LVMH-occupied building, will be Japan’s only Givenchy flagship, which opens on May 16 with a revamped Loewe and Celine to share the prime space.

Meanwhile at the Harajuku end of the street, Chanel is undergoing an expansion in the GYRE building, taking over the space occupied by Bulgari to command the street-level. All this comes after a flurry of other local fancy fashion openings, including a Hugo Boss store and Prada group’s footwear-label Church’s. (MJ)

H. Naoto goes full steam ahead

“Steampunk” is finally joining the ranks of other overseas trends that have left their mark on Tokyo’s fashion scene. Defined as an indulgence in turn-of-the-century Victoriana, clockwork mechanisms and a grimy brown palette, it’s easy to see why the style is fitting for those rebelling against the current technology-obsessed and clean-cut youth.

Until now the genre has found itself trapped in cosplay conventions and similar events due to the costume origins of the genre abroad. However, thanks to H.Naoto Steam, a new brand from gothic fashion impresario Hirooko Naoto, it has started to hit the street.

H.Naoto Steam was originally tested as a sub-brand of H.Naoto in 2013, but it quickly rose to the forefront by early 2014. Now that it’s center-stage and toned down for the street, all that remains to see is how Japan’s ever-inventive youth localize it. (ST)

H.Naoto + Harajuku, 3-18-23 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-3478-6454. www.hnaoto.com

Tete Homme duals ‘City Hunter’


| © NORTH STARS PICTURES, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cult 1980s manga “City Hunter” by Tsukasa Hojo is making an unexpected foray into fashion courtesy of Tete Homme, a Japanese label renowned for dressing Tokyo gents since 1981. At the core of the collaboration is a jacket inspired by that of “City Hunter” protagonist Ryo Saeba.

The jacket is designed to be worn with the sleeves rolled up like the ’80s original and it amusingly sports Ryo’s concealed condom pocket. The line also includes T-shirts featuring illustrations from the series, notably one that will make the wearer appear as if he has Ryo’s Colt Python 357 tucked into his belt. Be quick if you are interested, though, each item is limited to 200 units and will be on sale nationwide at all Tete Homme shops from mid-May. (ST)

www.tetehomme.com

Pharrell Williams gets ‘Happy’ in Tokyo

Singer and producer Pharrell Williams is once again making his presence felt in Japan with this month’s upcoming release of a Japan-exclusive video for his song “Happy,” which has already peaked at the No. 1 position on music charts in some 25 countries. Though the actual release date has yet to be announced, we do know the Japan video is directed by Nigo of A Bathing Ape fame and stars an A-Z of Tokyo’s music scene, from rappers such as Verbal to the idol unit BiS.

Stealing some of the thunder from this official video, however, is an already released Harajuku-specific clip directed by Tokyo-based creative agency Smotion. A homage to the street fashion that made Harajuku the tourist attraction it is today, Smotion’s video — despite flashes of the eccentric sub-cultures often over-associated with the area — does a good job of capturing the reality of Tokyo style. (ST)

Follow #harajukuhappytimes for updates on the unofficial Harajuku video, which can be seen on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVvUxM0ywrc.