Monstrously cute dining in Harajuku

On Aug. 1, creative director Sebastian Masuda opened the Kawaii Monster Cafe, a curious place that brings Harajuku to life in storybook style.

Designed to look like you’re entering the belly of a beast that “swallowed Harajuku whole,” the space encourages you to eat your way out while exploring Masuda’s fantastical version of the fashion mecca. Masuda is known for having a slightly twisted view of the kawaii (cute) aesthetic, and although he has designed and run his own brand, 6%DokiDoki, for nearly 20 years, he recently reached international acclaim after his work on J-pop phenomenon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s music videos went viral. The cafe features a giant merry-go-round complete with melting creatures, ants on the walls and a bar caged in by glowing jellyfish legs. Guests are greeted by five mascot Monster Girls, who can help you choose between rainbow-colored pasta or pancakes swimming in syrup (full disclosure: I designed the mascot costumes).

With fantastical decor created by the same factory that supplies Disneyland Tokyo, it’s a kawaii wonderland that’s already in a kawaii wonderland.


Iris Van Herpen’s fashion of the future

As one of the first designers to create couture collections made with 3-D-printing technology, Iris Van Herpen is one of the most-watched fashion designers today. From Aug. 21 to Sept. 6, some of her innovative and avant-garde pieces will be displayed at the Seibu Department Store in Shibuya.

Van Herpen is a guest member of Paris’ Chambre syndicale de la Haute Couture, an honor usually reserved for those who have mastered the art of handiwork. She has been lauded instead for using odd materials and experimental techniques, many of which are more commonly seen in industrial engineering.

Most notable pieces are her 3-D-printed creations, including her longtime collaboration with shoe brand United Nude, and her more recent work with Japanese shoe designer Noritaka Tatehana. The Seibu exhibition includes a selection of these in a space designed by Japanese robot designer Tatsuya Matsui.

“Iris Van Herpen Conception Into Cyberspace” at Seibu Department Store runs Aug. 21-Sept. 6; 7F 21-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; ¥500. 03-3462-0111; bit.ly/vherpen

A day of Fantashion

As part of an initiative to get young designers out into the market, Fantashion — a one-day event of fashion shows and pop-up shops staffed by designers themselves — will be open to both industry and the public. Nineteen up-and-coming brands will be showcasing and selling their latest collections, as well as offering one-on-one talks. Names include Tokyo fashion week darlings, the minimalist Dressedundressed, and newcomers Neb Araan Do, whose androgynous looks are inspired by schoolgirl sailor uniforms.

A show featuring 10 specially selected new brands will run at 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., with styles ranging from the Harajuku streets to high fashion. All of this will take place at the Glass Tower lobby and meeting room of the Tokyo International Forum on Aug. 16.

Fantashion takes place at Tokyo International Forum on Aug. 16; 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Free entry. 03-5221-9043; www.creators-tokyo.com

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