Style & Design

Top stars and collaborations in Japanese fashion

by Misha Janette

Contributing Writer

This month, fashion in Japan is coming at you with collaborations involving two major artists, one of the musical persuasion and another that might just break the internet. Meanwhile, one of Japan’s homegrown fashion stars celebrates an anniversary with one of the best runway shows Tokyo has seen all season.

H&M’ s Blue Sky

H&M Japan has teamed up with Namie Amuro, one of the country’s most iconic singers, for an exclusive capsule collection.

Amuro rose to fame in the early 1990s, pushing out hit after hit of upbeat pop music and providing an undeniable cool factor to the J-pop genre. She was equally popular for her personal sense of style, which helped define the street fashion of Shibuya in the ’90s.

Girls who dressed like Amuro were called Amuraa, and they usually wore urban-inspired, dance-ready clothes. But the fiery icon and 25-year music veteran has since grown into a woman who is more about stylish comfort, and this is reflected in this H&M lineup of easy, breezy summer clothes. Titled Blue Sky, the collection is a nod to her birthplace of Naha, Okinawa, featuring big floral patterns (main picture), beach robes and sailor stripes. It’s not quite a throwback to her Shibuya-kei days.

Amuro has announced she is retiring in September of this year, so this collaboration may be a last chance to get a piece of this “Queen of J-pop” before she steps out of the spotlight for good.

Amuro Namie x H&M collaboration goes on sale April 25 at all H&M Japan locations and online at

Jean-Paul Goude gets cheeky with Desigual

Jean-Paul Goude for Desigual Couture
Jean-Paul Goude for Desigual Couture

French artist, illustrator and graphic designer Jean-Paul Goude has teamed up with Spanish brand Desigual for a capsule collection that is brimming with wild personality. Goude, known for his charisma, as well as his partnerships with a legion of style icons since the ’70s, rose to fame with a series of album covers and films produced for Grace Jones. His work recently caused ripples with the infamous “break the internet” Paper magazine cover featuring a champagne-popping Kim Kardashian.

This is Goude’s first full foray into fashion design, and his pieces for Desigual are a trip through multiple cultures and eras, pairing African jungle prints or ’80s pop graphics with voluminous silhouettes found more common in Asian garb. Desigual is already known for its loud prints and cacophony of color, but as the new creative director, Goude has been tasked with giving it more street cred over the course of the next three years. Cheekily titled Desigual Couture, this first capsule collection is actually all ready-to-wear and available now at Opening Ceremony in Omotesando until May 7.

Opening Ceremony Omotesando:


Yasuhiro Mihara still building strong looks

From the Mihara Yasuhiro 2018 fall/winter collection
From the Mihara Yasuhiro 2018 fall/winter collection

Veteran designer Yasuhiro Mihara celebrated his 20th anniversary with a riveting show that crowned the 2018 fall/winter fashion week season in Tokyo.

In an unusual start to the presentation, a construction worker, clad in orange overalls, guided a large truck onto the runway, which opened up to reveal the models on standby inside. The hard-hatted worker turned out to be the designer himself, who then directed the flow and timing of the models as they glided down the runway. Mihara said that in his entire career he had never been able to see one of his shows from the sidelines, so this was his way of putting himself in the audience’s shoes.

The collection itself was a love letter to the Japanese street style, which Mihara has cultivated with deconstruction, exceptional tailoring and sporty urban vibes for both men and women. Mihara started in the industry designing a line of shoes in 1997, but exploded on the scene when he was picked up by Puma for a collaboration in 2000. Since then, his collections have been consistently strong. With more streetwear designers around the world getting selected for top jobs with large luxury labels, including Off-White’s Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton, perhaps its time Mihara starts appearing on everyone’s must-watch list.

Yasuhiro Mihara
Yasuhiro Mihara