Valentine’s is all about the man
For men, Japan’s a great country to be in on Valentine’s Day, since they are the ones to traditionally receive gifts. If your guy has a sweet tooth, Barneys New York department stores are selling cassette-tape- and beach-sandal-shaped chocolate bars by Alain Ducasse-approved patissier Christophe Michalak. Priced at ¥2,800 and ¥3,800 respectively, they come in six flavors, including pistachio and caramel.
What if your guy scoffs at sweets? Then why not pick up a “cuban cigar” at Issey Miyake? A healthy alternative to actually smoking, the cigar rolls contain a rolled handkerchief printed with a pattern from the latest Tropical Dandy collection. The clever packaging alone is worth it — it’s printed with realistic tobacco leaves and labeled “tar, nicotine 0g” (available at all Issey Miyake Men as well as many women’s stores). (M.J.)
Purrfect gifts for the guy
The ubiquitous Hello Kitty mascot’s popularity is pretty much guaranteed with the vast majority of Japan’s female population. However, if you are looking for a real wild card to give the man in your life this Valentine’s Day, then you might want to risk a look in Lumine Man Shibuya, which is running an exclusive menswear collaboration with Sanrio.
Highlights include ribbon-motif-embroidered opera shoes from footwear line Alfredo Bannister (¥30,240), as well as surprisingly rough-and-ready Denime denim jackets, which are printed with variations on Helly Kitty designs (¥31,320). Given that Thai police officers are punished for tardiness by being forced to wear pink Hello Kitty armbands, this collaboration could speak volumes about your guy, who must be secure in his masculinity to voluntarily wear these designs. (S.T.)
Lumine Man Shibuya: 1-22-11 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-5784-9610. www.lumine.ne.jp/shibuya
Clothing splashed with prints of people’s portraits are a dime a dozen, but the ones that grace the colorful sweaters from It Knit come with an 8-bit twist.
The brainchild of award-winning graphic designer Shogo Kishino, It Knit creates knitted portraits — of historical figures to ordinary people and even dogs — in pixelated pop colors. For a limited run of five days, Kishino is holding an exhibition of works that have won the designer such accolades as a gold Cannes Lion award. There will also be a free It Knit selfie photo booth that will turn your image into a pixelated masterpiece, which you can have printed and framed for ¥30,000 to ¥60,000. (M.J.)
“Shogo Kishino Exhibition” runs from Feb. 20 to Feb. 24 at Rocket Gallery, 6-9-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-3499-1003. www.6d-k.com/it_knit
Versus Tokyo steps into the light
Versus Tokyo, the collective of Japanese fashion organized by menswear maestro Yuichi Yoshi is enjoying the center stage at The Stage exhibition space in Isetan Shinjuku. An installation and pop-up store, the event is a first for the collection. Only open until Feb. 16, the store features 16 of Versus Tokyo’s finest brands including the recently resurrected Phenomenon, Mr. Gentleman, Toga and C.E.
On top of offering a number of unique limited-edition items, the event is a very rare opportunity to discover some of Japan’s more underground brands without having to track them down to their usual home of a secluded Daikanyama bunker with erratic opening times. (S.T.)
Isetan Shinjuku: 3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; 03-3352-1111. bit.ly/0214isetan
See New York’s advanced fashion
“Advanced Style” is a photo exhibition showcasing the outlandishly eccentric and stylish senior women of New York. A blog by the same name recently rose to prominence when young street-style photographer Ari Seth Cohen brought the world’s attention to this subset of under-the-radar fashionistas.
Some of the women, who are aged from 60 to 100, have since gone on to star in luxury-brand ad campaigns or even start their own lines. Seth Cohen’s photo book has sold 38,000 copies in Japan alone, and this exhibition of around 150 images reveals just why these women are admired for their individuality — whether they are wearing original Chanel suits or bracelets made of colored cardboard. (M.J.)
“Advanced Style” runs from Feb. 17 to March 1 at 7F Seibu Shibuya A, 21-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-3462-0111. Entry is ¥500. bit.ly/0214advstyle