Uniqlo gives the fleece a makeover

Fleece was once a fashion no-no — expensive, dull and pedestrian. But if anyone can get people excited about such a practical basic, it is retail giant Uniqlo, which has enlisted top creative director Nicola Formichetti to give the humble garment a new lease of life.

The “urban fleece” is aimed at the younger generation and comes in a flurry of pop colors, each at a very low price — just under ¥2,000 for the majority of the lineup. To mark the launch, the Uniqlo Shibuya branch is showcasing “Fleece Wonderland,” a special installation by artist and designer Yoshikazu Yamagata of WrittenAfterwards fame, the centerpiece of which — a large “Fleece Monster” made from more than 100 fleeces — should make you feel warm and fuzzy for the winter. (S.T.)

Uniqlo Shibuya Dogenzaka Store: 1F Dogenzaka 2-29-5, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-5456-8311. Uniqlo

See the heady creations of Katsuya Kamo

You’ll find Katsuya Kamo at the hair table behind the scenes at the top Tokyo and Paris fashion shows, but he’s not a hairdresser. He does, however, have a head for hats, wigs and masks: He’s the man who creates those runway looks that can push any show from “blah” to “bravo!”

Although he has been working with such brands as Chanel, Undercover and Junya Watanabe for close to two decades, Laforet Harajuku museum’s “100 Headpieces” is the first opportunity for the public to see his masterpieces up close. On show are some of his most elaborate works, many of which would make the ladies of Marie Antoinette’s court scream in lust. Often created from paper and other delicate materials, the construction of each of these intriguing works is fascinating. With close to 200 items on display, there’s enough to keep you enthralled for quite a while. (M.J.)

“100 Headpieces” runs till Nov. 18. at Laforet Museum in Harajuku, Tokyo. (03) 3475-0411. www.lapnet.jp

Film shorts get fashionable

“Les Stars” © Serge Lutens

Short films on fashion, beauty or design, typically commissioned by brands or magazines to promote collections or products, can be hit-or-miss in terms of entertainment. But now enough have been made to warrant a film festival that picks out the best.

Held in Paris in October, A Shaded View of Fashion Film is getting a second run in Tokyo at the end of this month. Several different passes are available, but the ¥3,000 one allows access to three days of films and various talk sessions. Presenters include festival founder, seasoned designer and journalist Diane Pernet, as well as local industry professionals (including yours truly). There are films by photographers Ellen Von Unwerth, David Sims and Bruce Weber, as well as some inspiring innovative works by amateurs. (M.J.)

ASVOFF runs from Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at IDOL, 5-11-9 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo; 03-6427-4779. ASVOFF

Marc Jacobs bookmarks Omotesando

Today, most bookmarks involve a tab on your Internet browser. But Marc Jacobs’ Bookmarc is filled with real books — yes, ones made of paper and ink. Recently opened in front of the Omotesando branch of Marc by Marc Jacobs, the new store houses a carefully curated selection of photo, art, poetry and other books that will leave fashion or design aficionados salivating. You’ll find volumes on Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei, obscure photography and other essentials for the discerning arts lover.

Downstairs is the new menswear-only branch of Marc by Marc Jacobs, the brand’s largest retail space in the world. Being a more affordable alternative to the main Marc Jacobs line, it’s got enough on-trend duds to give your winter wardrobe a total refresh. And let’s face it, if you’re buying for the guy, small gifts will appear a little bit cooler when they come in that recognizable black M by MJ bag. (M.J.)

Bookmarc: 4-26-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-5412-0351. Marc Jacobs

6% Dokidoki looks beyond the kawaii

Ever since artist Sebastian Masuda’s haven of cute culture, 6% Dokidoki, opened in 1995, the shop has been a barometer for Harajuku street-fashion tastes. Nineteen years later, as kawaii cute eclipses other Japanese fashion cultures, as well as makes inroads abroad, we look again to this cult store to show us the way.

Dubbed “6% Dokidoki Evolution: Beyond the ‘Kawaii,’ ” the store is being renewed and rebranded, and is set to open on Nov. 16. We can only guess as to where the shop direction is heading, but given that it has always existed as a counter culture to mainstream tastes, we should expect something satisfyingly subversive. Indeed, it is ironic that the very culture that Masuda helped promulgate is now the very one that he is undermining, but if anyone can articulate the next chapter in the kawaii-culture saga, it is this man. (S.T.)

6% Dokidoki: TX101 Building 2F, Jingumae 4-28-16, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-3479-6116. 6% Dokidoki

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