Anrealage gets real in Omotesando
Tokyo has been spoiled of late with a surprising number of new store openings, not least the first stand-alone shops of cult streetwear label C.E and power-couple Yoon and Verbal’s Ambush. But it is Kunihiko Morinaga’s Anrealage, a mainstay of Paris Fashion Week, whose new Aoyama location in the heart of the high -fashion district that is the most significant. It heralds Anrealage in equal standing to the household brand names it now shares a postal code with.
In marking this milestone the brand has teamed up with long-term collaborator and media-shy designer Keisuke Kanda for a special collection that seems to pay homage to the domestic support that enabled Anrealage’s rise to global fame.
Dotted with Kanda’s signature hinomaru Japanese flag design, the lineup pokes gentle fun at salaryman culture by splicing tracksuits and other Asics sporting wear with office-appropriate tailoring. The collection is presented in a thoughtfully curated space in the Aoyama shop until Sept. 25, but there is also a portal site with a humorous video that proves no matter how big Anrealage has become, it is still in touch with its Tokyo roots and not above the playful wit of Morinaga’s early collections.
Showing off your undies
Japanese street style doesn’t fit into the tidy categories that it once used to. That was when fashion tribes ruled and before social media enabled them to disseminate into innumerable dynamic styles that the media couldn’t stick labels on.
Take, for example, the current proclivity among young girls to opt for on-trend lingerie as outerwear. Tinted with a touch of the retro boudoir and reimagined through an anime lens, there is an overt sexualization of youth that would make the previous generation of Lolita fashion aficionados blush. It is a style that lives by many names, none of which are widely known outside the youth fashion scene, a fact that has robbed the undeniable zeitgeist the wide cultural presence that trends like Lolita fashion have enjoyed.
If you can’t quite imagine the look, a trip to Harajuku and the VeryBrain popup shop in LaForet Harajuku, which will be there until the 22nd. The cult Osaka-based brand from Kazuhiro Suzuki has long been an advocate for this confrontationally hyper-feminine style, and this is a rare chance to catch the brand outside Kansai.
Alternative approaches to fashion week
Tokyo fashion week has had a few shakeups, not least former titular sponsor Mercedes-Benz being replaced by retailer Amazon, which has reverberated throughout the industry. Such changes have led to a number of leading names to take the opportunity to break away from fashion week and plan this season on their own terms.
Peacocking menswear designer Yoshio Kubo shot first, holding his spring-summer 2017 show in Tokyo in July, while last month saw runway showings from Lamarck and exhibitions of In-Process by Hall Ohara. This month the trend continues and while the official fashion week lineup remains strong, the alternative shows reveal a way that brands can exhibit their work at their own pace.
One brand embracing change is knitwear label Malamute by Mari Odaka. Odaka is presenting her sixth collection at Harajuku’s iconic Rocket gallery Date, and hopes that moving away from the hectic fashion-week schedule will allow more people the time to see her work, as well as open it up to the general public. Showing in a gallery space with a cafe serving drinks inspired by the collection, the event will also offer visitors a zine to take away..