Fashion week for the public

It’s that time again, when fashion makers and breakers take all that creativity they have pent up for the past six months and let it loose in the form of Japan Fashion Week (JFW).

From Oct. 18 through 22, runway shows will be reveal 2011 spring and summer collections to selected industry insiders. But JFW is increasingly taking note of the popularity of consumer-directed events, and this year there are more opportunities for anyone to be a part of the fashion feast.

Fashion-related videos will screen on jumbo displays (some in 3-D) at Midtown Tokyo in Roppongi and Japanese online video service Nico Nico Douga will continually stream many live shows and designer interviews. Nico Nico Douga will also show a documentary that follows brands Guts Dynamite Cabarets and Liza Lisa in the runup to their shows.

Fashion, however, is all about seeing and being seen, so put on your Sunday best and head over to Tabloid, the warehouse-turned-art-space in Hinode, for The Art Hotel Nest Tokyo’s “404 Not Fashion” event.

Held on Oct. 22 through Oct. 24, The Art Hotel Nest Tokyo project will feature a menswear fashion show, live photo shoots and art installations.

Also at Tabloid will be a screening of avant-garde videos from the annual A Shaded View on Fashion film festival, for which ASVOF founder Diane Pernet will make a personal appearance. (Misha Janette)

Ticket and event information for “404 Not Fashion,” can be found at www.nesttokyo.com. For a full list of participating JFW brands and schedules, visit www.jfw.jp.

Real eye candy

When it comes to frivolous indulgences, fashion and dessert make a perfect pairing. The Tokyo Sweets Collection (TSC) has married Tokyo’s top patissiers with big Japanese fashion brands, inviting guests to taste epicurean delights while watching a specially produced fashion show. Now in its third year, the popularity of the event has led to it finding a new home in the Omotesando Hills high-end shopping complex and six showings — two a day from Nov. 12 to 14.

This year, the fashion show is headed by designer Keita Maruyama. If it is anything like previous shows, we should be treated to some truly fantastic creations inspired by desserts. Some will even be made from food substances. Each day, five award-winning chefs, all heads of popular patisseries in Japan, will impress guests with their equally fantastic treats. Chefs include superstars of the dessert world such as Toshi Yoroizuka and Koutatsu Kanda, whose cakes and eclairs are fancy enough to steal any runway show. Tickets are a pricey ¥10,000 each, but the number of desserts included make it worthwhile, and they sell out fast. (M.J.)

For tickets and information, visit www.tokyosweetscollection.com.

Levi’s goes back in time

Sandwiched between Dries Van Noten and Dress33, in a very elegant Aoyama district backstreet, you will find Japan’s first Levi’s Vintage Clothing store. Discreet and deliberately out of the way, Levi’s hopes it will become a magnet for Japan’s denim-obsessed.

Established in 1999, Levi’s Vintage Clothing (LVC) had an ambiguous entry into the denim market until Levi’s appointed industry veteran Maurizio Donadi, in 2009, to head its new XX division, which looks after the company’s top tier labels, LVC and Made & Crafted.

LVC differentiates itself from other Levi’s lines by creating exact reproductions of vintage jeans from the brand’s extensive archives. Made in Los Angeles, from selvage denim on original narrow looms, the collection ranges from ¥30,000 to an eye-watering ¥80,000.

The store layout, which is as minimal as you can get, allows customers to focus on the jeans, shirts and accessories. Donadi, who was in Tokyo for the opening, said that the LVC store is “a cultural space for the brand,” where denim junkies can “come, listen to music and hang out.”

For Donadi, the store, which is one of only four in the world, is a strategic attempt to reposition “from being a marketing-driven company to a product-driven company.” (Paul McInnes)

Levi’s Vintage Clothing Store, B1F, Luce Minami Aoyama, 5-5-4, Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku; (03) 6419-1699.

England meets the Wild West

Vivienne Westwood, the British godmother of punk fashion, is waving her magic wand and turning jeans into flashy pieces worthy of the stage. It’s a collaborative effort between the Westwood Anglomania label and upstanding denim brand Lee — a project that is being widely distributed and reasonably priced. Highlights are men’s electric blue Rock ‘n’ Roll slim-cut model for (¥32,550) and “O-shaped” Banana Jeans (¥38,850) that give a meticulous ruched effect when worn. The women’s line includes Banana Jeans as well as micro cut off shorts (¥21,000) and a limited edition series of super-skinny cut pants in metallic- and lace-detail trompe l’oeil prints. To celebrate the collaboration, fans across the globe are being asked to submit photos under the theme of “Active Resistance” for a special website ( www.ar100days.com ). Each day, one photo is picked from all of the entries, and after 100 days all chosen images will be shown in a special exhibition in London. So far, entries in the gallery are as eclectic as the Westwood and Lee collection itself, ranging from views of street rallies and poignant graffiti to photoshopped Tokyo skyline abstracts. Truthfully, I’ve seen better out there, so perhaps it’s time to show them what you’ve got! (M.J.)

>Flagship shop: 5-49-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; (0)3-5774-5939; www.viviennewestwood-tokyo.com.

Getting college smart

A quick flip through this season’s fashion magazines, or even a peek at what’s on the streets, tells you that “preppy” is here in a big way. It comes as little surprise, then, that “Ivy-League look” king Ralph Lauren is spearheading the movement in Japan. The new Rugby Ralph Lauren store in Harajuku’s Cat Street, the first Rugby store outside the States, taps into a market that is pushing east-coast varsity looks and popularizing standard preppy labels such as J. Press, J. Crew and Brooks Brothers.

Rugby, founded in 2004, is more affordable than other Ralph Lauren lines and is described by the brand as “casual campus meets downtown prep.” This means a youthful collection of rugby shirts, chinos, herringbone jackets and collegiate accessories for men and women — all of which have a carefree “I’m a Harvard student!” look. It also has a “Make Your Own” service, which allows you to add vintage-inspired patches or embroidered monograms to your shirts.

The store, a two-floor affair, is appropriately decorated with oakwood flooring and ceramic tiles. The opening night was typically star-studded, with footballer Hidetoshi Nakata rubbing elbow patches with m-flo’s Verbal and TV pundit and producer Terry Ito. (P.M.)

Rugby Ralph Lauren, 4-25-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; (03) 6438-5801; rugby.ralphlauren.jp.

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