Fantasy after fashion

Tina Kalivas will get to see her creations on the big screen this May, as the Australian fashion designer produced the costumes for the new Japanese film “Goemon.” The movie is based on the legend of a Robin Hood-like hero and was directed by Kazuaki Kiriya, who was responsible for 2004’s popular “Casshern.” It would be any designer’s dream to work on such a project — a high-budget film that required highly theatrical costumes.

The costumes feature an ancient-Orient-meets-Europe decadence, and Kalivas’ work shows imaginative use of embroidery, pleating and texture in her breathtaking interpretations of kimono, ninja suits and samurai armor. The collaboration is the first between an Australian designer and such a large Japanese production, and Kalivas took the opportunity to present her eponymous noncostume label in Tokyo in late March.

“If I were to choose between normalcy in fashion and fantasy, I would go with fantasy, definitely,” she said at the time.

Kalivas worked under creative powerhouse Alexander McQueen before establishing her own line in Sydney in 2002. Mysticism runs deep in her 2009 fall/winter collection; based on Greek mythology, it features metallic military embroidery, tie-dying and hand knitting.

With “Goemon” opening nationwide May 1, Kalivas should quickly break the fashion box-office. (Misha Janette)

www.tinakalivas.com To apply for invitiations to a special preview of “Goemon” on April 28, see www.japantimes.co.jp/goemon.html

Kyoto chic

It’s not often that the Tokyo fashion army fails to lay claim to one of the country’s up-and-coming design talents. At last month’s select viewing in an Ebisu showroom, the emerging Kyoto-based label Sistere, designed by Yutaka Kojima, flaunted the traditions and craftsmanship of the old capital while wooing Tokyo’s style elite.

Sistere is a conceptual label dedicated to producing a dark, urban look in unique fabrics. With its attention to the finer details, Sistere shares a similar aesthetic with other top Japanese labels Julius and The Viridi-anne. As testimony to the appeal of the line by the 29-year-old Kyoto native, many other leading creators, including some of the Julius team and the Porter Classic boys, were there to see the brooding monochrome collection of leathers and quality finishing and to congratulate Kojima.

Established in 2006, Sistere’s flagship shop is on the second floor of a Tadao Ando building in Kyoto’s back streets. The store is decorated with antiques and stainless steel, with the exterior covered in ivy. But if a trip to Kyoto is impossible for you, don’t fret as Sistere is also available in Tokyo’s Isetan and Barneys New York in Ginza. (Paul McInnes)

2F 381-1 Funayacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto; (075) 241-0693; www.sistere.jp

Hollywood in Shinjuku

Los Angeles’ Kitson boutique has landed in Tokyo, bringing along with it the palpable frenzy that has kept the trendy shop the focus of Hollywood and fashion-first shoppers since 2002.

The boutique thrives on paparazzi shots of celebrities smiling as they hold Kitson shopping bags filled with the shop’s True Religion jeans, Von Dutch truckers’ hats, Team Jolie/Aniston T-shirts and UGG boots, all of which define the LA beach-bum style. Taking care of marketing for the brand in Japan is Branding Inc., the powerhouse behind the Tokyo Girls Collection. Along with the Kitson namesake line and other imports, the shop is introducing a Japan-only collaboration with stylist Keiko Sasaki. For a real bargain, this local collection is your best bet, but the original line from LA has some reasonable deals at ¥5,000 for a floral silk scarf and around ¥10,000 for an acid-wash denim vest.

The first Kitson Japan shop opened — with an appearance by model and actress Yu Yamada — last month in Shinjuku’s Lumine 2 department store, with 2,000 shoppers vying for a piece of the action. The goods feature a Shibuya aesthetic, most notably comprised of neo-1980s inspirations, Latina flair and surfer-girl style. Most of the early fashion-adopters were vying for a limited-edition Kitson tote bag that can now be spotted on the arms of young fashionistas in the city. (M.J.)

3-38-2 2F Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku; (03) 5908-1522; www.shopkitson.jp

Glimmering Tokyo inspirations

Marielle Byworth’s family has been in the jewelry business for five generations, but the designer for the Marijoli brand only got her own start after moving to Japan in 2006.

“I registered my brand name, Marijoli.com, back when I was studying at Les Beaux Arts (in Paris), so I somehow knew that in the future I would have my own brand,” says Byworth.

Born and raised in Switzerland, Byworth makes intricate, unique pieces in silver and gold that feature organic shapes with squiggles and holes that resembles what happens when an aphid feverishly goes at a leaf. The pieces are eye-catching with their super-polished finish, and the bracelets come with dyed leather ties woven in and out of the holes to add a bit of color. Marijoli lines are sold worldwide and have been snapped up by Madonna and Nelly Furtado, as well as Miss Universe 2007, Riyo Mori, and the 2006 runnerup, Kurara Chibana.

Though showing her elegant creations globally keeps Byworth busy, she still finds time to draw inspiration from her current home base of Tokyo.

“When I start designing a piece, I find my focus by doing a few hours of yoga before sitting down in my studio looking out over the Tokyo skyline,” she says. “Japan has taught me a lot about focus and patience in achieving what, I hope, are ‘Zenlike’ creations.” (M.J.)


Abi loves rockin& babes

Once you’ve recovered from the long sleepless nights and constant worrying, parenting can be a lot of fun.

One of the joys of parenthood, especially for those with a penchant for fashion, can be dressing your little ones in a whole range of cutesy outfits. Abi Loves, a new Web boutique founded by European ex-model turned Tokyoite Abi, is a godsend for parents who want to find an eclectic range of clothes, accessories, books and toys from various labels all under one roof. Abi Loves stocks ecofriendly, safe and comfortable clothing from a selection of brands from Japan, New York, L.A. and Europe, including Archi, a label run by the Japanese actress Sae Isshiki. Abi also sells Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede’s brand Lemlem, which boasts garments handmade from natural cotton.

Featuring hippie chic and rock ‘n’ roll styles among others, the clothes for boys and girls up to 8 years old are a splendid mix of T-shirts, jeans, swimwear, shoes and pretty much everything you need to make your darlings the hippest kids on the block. Abi also runs a lifestyle blog, Abi’s Notebook, which contains recipes, store and restaurant news and stylish images, which together make Abi Loves a cool parenting paradise. (P.M.)


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