One of the hottest fashion items to come out of Japan recently isn’t what you may expect it to be. Moisturizing face masks, a long-time part of Japanese women’s beauty routine,have been getting a makeover. While most still resemble plastic-surgery post-op gauze, now you can also find ones that make you look like a monster, animal or even a member of KISS. It’s become part of the “costume play” craze that has seen anime and manga seeping into mainstream style agendas.

The Design Face Pack series should have fashionistas getting into the trend — Kansai Yamamoto, designer of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust outfits, has created a look that melds his famous kabuki-style runway makeup with artistic brush strokes. For ¥900 you get a pack of two styles. (M.J.)

Available at Tokyu Hands. www.tokyuhands.co.jp


Close encounters of a fashion kind

Those looking forward to heading off-road this coming Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo should add the awkwardly named “Zetsu-Zetsumei: Close Encounters of Fashion” to their schedules. The exhibition is the second in a series from alternative fashion maestros Mikio Sakabe and WrittenAfterwards’ Yoshikazu Yamagata, a much lauded pair known for their anti-establishment leanings — not that that stopped their first event from winning the Special Award in the 32nd Mainichi Fashion Grand Prix.

The exhibition’s lineup will change daily and feature the designers’ hand-picked selection from the Tokyo underground fashion scene. And that’s not all — the opening night will showcase Mikio Sakabe’s return to the runway after a season in hiatus, in a special collaboration with the avant-garde designer group Tokyo New Age. (S.T.)

“Zetsu-Zetsumei: Close Encounters of Fashion” at Parco Museum in Shibuya runs March 19-30; daily 10 a.m.-9 p.m. ¥500. bit.ly/zetsuzetsumei

Shibuya invites all to its fashion block party

Tokyo fashion week kicks off on March 16, but for the general public, the main event will be on the last day, March 21, with the Shibuya Fashion Festival.

This is the festival’s seventh round, and it has become a mainstay on the calendar for fashion fans, who come out for a block party that celebrates not only high fashion, but also street genres such as Shibuya gal, gothic, lolita and American casual.

From about 2 p.m., more than 200 stores in Shibuya will be holding mini-events and offering special discounts. There will also be fashion parades and guerrilla fashion shows. Keep your eye on the Hachiko dog statue at Shibuya station; it always gets a rather fashion-forward outfit just for that day. (M.J.)


A new standard for the Tokyo dandy

New menswear line Iiser Loen from veteran designer Koji Tezuka is enjoying a rapid rise at present. Not only will it see its official Tokyo fashion week debut on March 16, but its first flagship store has also just opened in the recently revamped Omotesando Hills shopping complex.

Aiming to herald a “new age of dandyism,” the brand, whose very first collection for spring-summer 2015 is currently hitting stores, is a celebration of a sophisticated mature style that is conscientiously adverse to the tides of trends and is rendered in top-of-the-range textiles and finishings. The brand is clearly a labor of love, with the designer having served his time working for six women’s brands, including Galance and Iliann Loeb, before finally earning the support to make menswear in his own image. (S.T.)

www.iiserloentokyo.jp; bit.ly/liserloenfacebook

Isetan hosts seven up-and-coming designers

It’s hard enough to filter through the noise of fashion media to see what is on trend, but finding what’s poised to be the next big thing on the retail floor is a whole other hill to climb. So, in conjunction with Tokyo fashion week, Isetan Department Store is hosting the Tokyo Upcoming pop-up store offering a varied selection of the best of young talent. Located in the Tokyo Kaiho-ku creative space on the second floor, seven collections will be on sale.

Items range from designer Tamaki Fujie’s colorful textile work to thoughtful tailoring from Differess and the gender and age-bending styles from Akikoaoki. (M.J.)

Tokyo Upcoming at Isetan Department Store, Shinjuku, runs till March 17. www.miguide.jp/wfma2015/tokyo

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