Prabal Gurung is being tapped to design new uniforms for All Nippon Airways group’s 60th anniversary last year. ANA surely chose New York based-Gurung in a bid to show its global aspirations, and it helps that he is one of the hottest commodities on the market, as a young up-and-comer with some major notches on his belt. He’s already claimed fame with clients such as First Lady Michelle Obama, Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton, and Lady Gaga among others. He does also have some ties to Japan — he is currently chief designer of Onward Kashiyama-owned brand ICB NY.
The ANA uniforms will be revealed within the year with a 2014 rollout — some keywords being thrown around regarding the design include “sparkle” and “trust.” About 10,000 employees are getting the upgrade — and no one turns down a bump up. M.J.
Mihara Yasuhiro reveals his good idea
Finding high-end luxury clothes in Japan isn’t exactly an exercise in perseverance — department stores and well-known luxury select shops, such as Restir, have you covered. But if you are looking for a more discrete way to shop, then Idea by SOSU’s salon-style shopping might be for you.
Idea by SOSU opened seven years ago, but was by appointment-only, patronized by a select few who were kept in the loop. This March, however, it has opened its doors to anyone so inclined and has re-established itself in a quiet, modern glass building on the northern border of Harajuku. This shop goes all the way in terms of fancy selection. You’ll find racks of upper-crust favorite Alaia, street-haute by Christopher Kane and couture hats by Maison Michele, one of the last French milliners in the world. Another brand featured prominently is Mihara Yasuhiro, namely because it’s his company that runs this unique boutique.
What was once only for those in the know, is something you now know about, too. M.J.
3-30-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku G Building 4F; (03) 5775-7941. www.facebook.com/idea.sosu
From Monki to Weekday
On June 1, H&M opened flagships for two of its umbrella brands, Monki and Weekday, at the Ebisubashi building of Osaka’s Shinsaibashi shopping area.
Weekday is the cool older sister, effortlessly chic with pared-down Swedish style. There is no dearth of statement pieces, but the emphasis is on quality textiles and a trendless je ne sais quoi.
Monki, on the other hand, is a hyperactive child whose energy seems to know no bounds. The interiors for this store involves an underwater scene in doll-house pinks complete with a scallop merry-go-round clothes-rack centerpiece. The brand is said to be inspired by Japanese street fashion so it’s fitting for it to be fed back to its muses. Monki has also secured a covetable spot in Tokyo — on teeny-bopper-favorite Takeshita-dori — with promises of ping-pong tables and a space to hang out. M.J.
Proving that Shibuya is not just a realm of endless consumerism, the grass-roots fashion activist group FabLab Shibuya has made a name for itself through its “open source” shared-knowledge approach to fashion development. Its latest endeavor is with cult fashion designer NukeMe, known for his unusual idea of hacking sewing-machine software to produce distorted embroidery reminiscent of computer glitches and graphical errors. As part of the FabLab Shibuya project, NukeMe has set his sights on textiles by hacking knitting-machine software to produce digitally “corrupted” fabrics that no amount of diligent deliberate creation could possibly replicate.
Scheduled to start in early July, the results of the project will be made public with the hope of inspiring a new wave of open-source creativity among Japan’s technologically-minded young designers. The community approach extends to the group’s financing, which was crowdfunded, an increasingly common approach as designers continue to feel the economic pinch. S.T.
FabLab Shibuya: Udagawacho 42-6, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 6416-4083. readyfor.jp/projects/nukeme_fablabshibuya_fakko
Feeling the streetwear hype again
Ever since its unconventionally abstract Tokyo Fashion Week runway show — which didn’t feature any physical clothes, let alone models — Japan seems keen to crown young brand C.E as the new king of Tokyo menswear. The label comes from graphic designer Nakamura Shinichiro, who also goes by the name Sk8thing, and is best known for his work as head designer at A Bathing Ape and his collaborations with Stussy, before he founded his own fashion line with a small team of collaborators.
Now, C.E, which stands for Caveat Emptor (Latin for “buyer beware”), has teamed up with Beams for a capsule collection that launched on June 8 with an installation at Beams Harajuku — the same area where the original BAPE streetwear boom was born. The collection is strewn with maggots in the best West Coast skater bad-taste tradition, which in turn parodies the endemic problems with consumerism created by their fashion predecessors. S.T.
Beams Harajuku: Jingumae 3-24-7, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3470-3947. www.beams.co.jp
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