Louis Vuitton is being struck by Lightning
Since the character designer Tetsuya Nomura took the helm for Square Enix’s “Final Fantasy” series of games, his work has been surprisingly inspiring in the world of fashion — and we are not talking just cosplay (costume play). Nomura’s dynamic silhouettes and neo-baroque influences are regularly seen in diluted form on the streets of Tokyo. Now, Louis Vuitton has gone one step further and enlisted “Final Fantasy XIII” heroine Lightning as a poster girl for its spring advertising campaign.
Building on the strong manga and video-game references of the Parisian luxury brand’s latest collection, Creative Director Nicolas Ghesquiere describes Lightning as “the perfect avatar for a global, heroic woman, and for a world where social networks and communications are now seamlessly woven into our life.”
Square Enix has also put Lightning — who you’ll see swinging a handbag instead of a blade, and in a pink leather jacket instead of armor — “on the record” as saying, “Fashion isn’t something you’re taught or given, it comes from your own taste and your own choices.”
The line between fashion and fantasy is blurring beyond distinction, with designer Hiromu Takahara also creating the clothes for the 15th FF game to be released later this year. With that level of design, when fans wear character’s outfits, will it still be cosplay?
Men love the stars, too
Sanrio’s Little Twin Stars — Kiki and Lala — were a big hit in the 1980s, and the pair experienced a bit of a revival when they celebrated their 40th anniversary last year. But until now, the pastel pink and blue angel-like characters have been mostly popular with girls or young women.
Esmod Japan graduate Aya Matsuura, however, thinks it should be otherwise. The young designer’s brand, Ayymatsuura, is based on her vision of the ideal man, and her provocative reversal of the male gaze is imbued with a pinch of kawaii (cute) and a heavy dose of Japanese and Korean idol culture. It has got the industry talking and won her plenty of fans — not least at Sanrio, who asked her to design a menswear collection using its characters.
The capsule collection goes on sale in selected shops in April, but based on early demand, those interested will need to pre-order now. Prices start at ¥9,800 for a Kiki and Lala print T-shirt to ¥52,000 for a jacket.
The flair of repair
The repeated and improvised repair of clothing — irregular needlework, patches and other small fixes — was once considered undesirable in fashion. Termed “boro,” it was historically a practice limited to farmers and peasants of an old feudal era.
In recent years, however, a renewed interest in old traditions — their reverence for everyday objects and conservation — has inspired a celebration of wear, tear and repair, with the last decade seeing a number of boro exhibitions in Japan.
The Kobe Museum of Fashion is hosting a show of around 100 works that include peasant wear alongside the work of contemporary designers. Leading the lineup of big names from Tokyo Fashion Week are the elegant Matohu, nostalgia-infused WrittenAfterwards and cult brand Keisuke Kanda.
“The Aesthetics of Boro” at the Kobe Fashion Museum runs from Jan. 23 to March 10. For more information, visit bit.ly/kobeboro.