Pearls of fashion

If Holly Golightly had been in Ginza instead of New York on a given morning, she might have been beside herself with jewelry lust in front of Japanese brand Tasaki’s new flagship instead of that other T-named place.

Tasaki has been offering high-class pearl and diamond jewelry since 1954 and its recent updated image, with a modern flagship store and new collaborations with hip creators, makes it even more appealing.

Fashion designer Mihara Yasuhiro and German accessory designer Husam el Odeh have a rock’n’roll-inpsired Tasaki collection that includes a chain mini-dress and aggressively elegant barbed wire necklaces, while superstar stylist Tomoki Sukezane’s cuff links use textured black pearls for the body of spiders that crawl across gold and silver webs.

Upstairs is the much-hyped new collection from New York-based fashion designer Thakoon Panichgul. His appointment as designer for Tasaki was announced last year to major fanfare, as the young Thai native had recently found himself the subject of U.S. Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour’s admiration in the 2009 documentary “The September Issue.”

His collection includes pearl earrings that can be worn front- or backward and a curious gold “knuckle ring” with a row of pearls lined across the top. I found Panichgul lounging at the after party, flanked by a maiko and a gaggle of glamorous clients, and I asked about the ring. “It’s obviously inspired by hip-hop but I tried to make it elegant. You would be surprised to find out how many older ladies here are buying it!” he gushed. (Misha Janette)

5-7-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku; (03) 3289-1111; www.tasaki.co.jp

Blogging to fame

“Who is that girl?” comments someone beneath a photo on Scott Schuman’s fashion blog The Sartorialist, referring to images of a stylish Japanese girl with model good looks, captured traipsing around Paris with a camera in hand. “That girl” turned out to be Rei Shito, one of Japan’s most experienced and globally known street-style photographers. Shito posts photos from Harajuku, Paris and New York on her blog, StyleFromTokyo.com. Working seven years as one of the early photographers for the legendary Japanese street-style magazine FRUiTS, she is not new to the photo-snapping game, but her newfound fame comes with thanks to her great style and the rise of fashion bloggers such as Scott Schuman. “The Sartorialist inspired me to start my blog and sell my own name instead of whatever magazine I was shooting for,” Shito says. “Now instead of just shooting outside the Chanel venue, I’m also invited inside to watch the show.”

Shito is kept busy on the street whenever it’s not raining and updates her blog every day.

“I usually only take photos of about three people a day, but sometimes none. I have to be drawn to them. It’s not only about a person’s fashion but also their smile or the way they walk.”

So what’s the best way to get your mug onto her site? She laughs, “Just be natural. And don’t think I’ll take your picture just because you ask.” (Misha Janette)


WeSC adds a little of the ’50s to the ’10s

Swedish street-wear brand WeSC (We are Superlative Conspiracy), a self-confessed “Street-Fashion brand for Intellectual Slackers,” is a match made in heaven for the cooler-than-thou trendies that call Harajuku and Shibuya home.

Established in 1999 in Stockholm, WeSC has a strong skateboarding influence and is the latest in a succession of Swedish names, including J. Lindeberg, Acne and Cheap Monday, to conquer the globe with a typically Scandinavian aesthetic.

Its first Tokyo store, located on Meiji Dori, was designed by fellow countryman and architect Thomas Eriksson, and its two floors are devoted to luxury street-wear. The ground floor stocks a select range of colorful headphones designed in collaboration with cult DJs Stretch Armstrong, Crookers (Bot & Phra) and Pase Rock in addition to t-shirts and smaller accessories. The upper level is the place for fans looking for WeSC’s collection line and hard-to-find limited edition items.

This season’s menswear collection is formed from classic street designs mixed with 1950s workwear, while the ladies apparel fuses ’50s couture with contemporary street fashion. The colors featured are khaki, gray and black with splashes of fruity pastels — perfect for the upcoming summer. (Paul McInnes)

WeSC: 6-23-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; (03) 5467-8055; wesc.com

Surfing by, in style

Cynthia Rowley is hanging 10 and batting a thousand with her new collection for Californian surfer fashion brand ROXY, which has just recently crashed onto Japan’s shores.

New York-based Rowley has been head of her own namesake brand for 27 years, and has amassed several generations of fans for her girly and youthful designs. She herself is an avid surfer — catching waves in Montauk, N.Y. — so it’s no surprise she has teamed up with ROXY to create this collection, which includes beach dresses (from ¥12,495) and a zippy color-blocked wet suit (¥30,450). It’s great for girls who want to look good even when they wipe out.

Rowley came to Tokyo to help launch the line, and talked a little about how the fashion scene has changed since she first started visiting in the 1980s.

“In the ’80s I noticed it was a much smaller group of people who expressed themselves through fashion. But now I see everyone, from the very young to even old ladies, who dress so incredibly trendy,” she said. She lamented the fact that she didn’t have much time to shop in the city this time, explaining, “In New York, there aren’t really any surprises when it comes to clothing shops because everyone already knows them all. But here, there are just so many that I can’t imagine anyone could possibly have every one pinned down. That makes it such an exciting place for fashion.” (Misha Janette)

Roxy Shop: 1-20-6, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; (03) 5766-9195; www.roxyjapan.jp

Fashionable social concerns

A collection of decomposed silk dresses, which had been buried for six months then exhumed, catapulted fashion designer Hussein Chalayan to the upper echelons of truly innovative designers. That was in 1993 and it was his debut in design. Since then, this Cyprus-born and London-educated designer has produced collection after collection, charged with philosophical musings, technological breakthroughs, political commentary and always a beautiful gown or two.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo looks into Chalayan’s work with “Hussein Chalayan: From Fashion and Back,” an exhibition brought over from London featuring an intimate exploration of 23 of the designer’s collections and short films.

The videos of his shows are like movies with climactic twists. When the final jaw-dropping dress has left the stage, one feels compelled to re-watch the show just to see how the first few simple pieces could have possibly lead up to the last.

In his “111” collection, which follows fashion history shaped by social upheavals, the dresses shrivel and curl like sea anemones, transforming into a different garment. In “After Words,” models rip the seat covers off chairs to wear them and a wooden coffee table expands into a skirt (pictured). This collection was inspired by displaced families forced to take their possessions with them as they were evacuated or driven out of homes during wartime.

These films and others make this fashion exhibition one of the best to be shown at the museum yet. (Misha Janette)

Till June 20th; 4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku; (03) 5245-4111; www.mot-art-muesum.jp

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