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Feeling festive?

This year’s subdued holiday mood is reflected in retail spaces and department stores, with comparatively pared-back illuminations and displays. Indeed, the observant may notice that some department stores are actually reusing decorations from last year. It’s a wise cost-cutting move given the circumstances, since it will take more than a bit of tinsel to revitalize consumer confidence.

In lieu of in-store excitement, a surprising number of Christmas promotions are going online. While some of the biggest holiday drops, such as a range of jewelry based on Disney Twisted-Wonderland, a bishonen (“beautiful youth”) mobile game featuring characters inspired by Disney villains, may have physical pop-ups, purchases are online only.

But the priority this year is clearly on spending Christmas at home, with interior goods and food in the fore, rather than garments for getting dressed up for a night on the town.

Priceless packaging: Loewe partnered with Kyoto-based Bamba Dyeing Factory to produce an artisan furoshiki wrap inspired by American artist Ken Price. | KUNIYUKI IKARASHI
Priceless packaging: Loewe partnered with Kyoto-based Bamba Dyeing Factory to produce an artisan furoshiki wrap inspired by American artist Ken Price. | KUNIYUKI IKARASHI

Crafting Christmas

One of the few fashion exclusives to get a bit of pre-Christmas traction is Loewe’s furoshiki wrapping cloth, which the Spanish brand commissioned from the historic Kyoto-based Bamba Dyeing Factory. This latest love letter to Japanese artisanal kōgei crafts is available exclusively through e-commerce site Zozotown until Dec. 25. While the motifs inspired by American sculpture Ken Price are not particularly Japanese, the execution, and particular prominence placed on the Japanese artisans in the accompanying promotional video, has further established Loewe as one of contemporary Japanese craft’s greatest patrons.

The Loewe Foundation’s various exhibitions and annual Craft Prize have done the lion’s share of work to introduce artisanal crafts from different genres to the world. Regrettably, the exhibition for 2020’s winners has been pushed back to spring 2021, but if you want to know where international eyes are focused, it’s worth paying close attention to the Japanese finalists selected by Loewe, including lacquerware artist Kohei Ukai and ceramicist Takayuki Sakiyama.

The furoshiki itself cannot be ordered directly, but it will come with selected purchases of Loewe items on Zozotown to use as wrapping. The packaging may be just as well-received as the contents inside!

bit.ly/loewe-kenprice

Mask accessories: Canal 4℃’s subtle mask jewelry will dress up your covering du jour. | CANAL 4℃
Mask accessories: Canal 4℃’s subtle mask jewelry will dress up your covering du jour. | CANAL 4℃

Preventative glam

A couple of months ago when brands were churning out facemasks, it was easy to be cynical about the decadence of turning something essential (and scarce) into a luxury commodity. But fashion masks helped people insert a bit of play and style into their lives and wardrobes, so you’d have to be very churlish to look down on the designers and wearers.

Well, we have finally reached peak fashion masking, and the prices have become rather staggering. For a mere ¥1 million (before tax) you can wear a real diamond- and pearl-encrusted mask from Tokyo Design Channel. Currently in the order-taking stage, it has the ring of a publicity stunt, but apparently the demand is there.

On similar lines, 4℃’s sub-brand, Canal 4℃, has made a line of subtle gold mask jewelry to decorate your covering du jour. Designed not to interfere with the effectiveness of the mask or rub against your face, 10% of proceeds go to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Tokyo Design Channel: ]bit.ly/tdc-diamondmask; Canal 4℃: bit.ly/maskjewelry

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