From a phoenix-themed collection by a Japanese designer who has clothed Lady Gaga to touches of traditional Mongolian decorations, designers showing at Japan Fashion Week set their sights firmly on Asia and its huge market.
Chinese consumers have become the world’s leading buyers of luxury goods and account for one quarter of this market globally with demand growing, according to a report by consulting firm Bain & Co.
The fashion extravaganza showcasing the autumn and winter collections of 2013/14 kicked off at the weekend but Japanese brands took to the stage on Monday with Masanori Morikawa and his self-directed label, “Christian Dada”.
Morikawa has created several pieces for American pop star Lady Gaga including a pink dress reminiscent of an origami crane for her 2012 “Born This Way Ball” tour.
This time he turned to Asia for inspiration with an edgy, androgynous collection titled “Fenghuang,” which is Chinese for the mythical bird phoenix, pairing long, loose pants with richly embroidered lace on shirt sleeves for men and women.
A bra with built-in ice packs, a wind chime and a sprig of mint that was unveiled in Japan on Wednesday is promising to keep women cool this summer.
In a nearly-naked publicity stunt, underwear firm Triumph Japan had models parading around showing off its “Super Cool Bra”, featuring what appears to be a pair of small fish tanks encompassing the breasts.
These cups are filled with a gel that remains soft and supple even when frozen, giving the wearer “a cool sensation against her skin”, the company said in a statement.
Nile Perch hasn’t always been a leading name in Japanese Fairy-kei fashion. More than 25 years ago it was a simple polo-shirt brand with a fish logo (the Nile Perch) inspired by Lacoste’s famous crocodile insignia. It’s the longevity and growth of Nile Perch which makes it different from other Fairy-kei labels such as 6%DokiDoki and the Tavuchi-led Spank!!!, Monascas Banana, and Ticket to Darling.
If we go even deeper into Fairy-kei, which has been a movement or scene in Tokyo for years now, we can see that there is no such thing as a unified Fairy-kei but multiple mini-scenes which make up Fairy-kei culture. 6%DokiDoki opts for vibrancy in colors and theme, Spank goes for second-hand pop and rock inspired 80s kitsch, and Nile Perch is a proponent of softer, kinder colors such as pinks and pastels. They might look similar to outsiders, but within the Fairy-kei community these brands are as different as Gucci and Takuya Angel.
Teen fashion model Hinami Kyoko (17) is starring in the latest film from horror director Miyake Ryuta (“Ju-on: Shiroi Roujo”). Hinami has made appearances in a couple television dramas before, but this is her big screen debut.
Titled “Nanatsu Made wa Kami no Uchi,” the movie is described as a suspenseful thriller, involving the mysterious disappearances of three girls and a mother. It all ties into a traumatic incident that took place in a forest 10 years earlier, and a young high schooler (Hinami) who has closed off her heart and is constantly going to a church.
Kirishima Reika, Asuka Rin, Fujimoto Nanami, and Komakine Ryusuke have also been cast. Endo Koji is handling the soundtrack. The movie opens in theaters on August 20.
Hinami entered show business after winning nicola’s 10th Model Audition in 2006. She has appeared in several magazines but is currently exclusively signed to non-no. Since April of this year, she has been a regular on Fuji TV’s morning show “Mezamashi TV.”
Fashion model Tanami Ryoko (37) updated her blog on Thursday to announce that she is now a mother. She gave birth to her first son on March 2, after spending a tiring two days in labor.
Tanami is best known as a former JJ model, though she was also affiliated with CLASSY and worked with other magazines. She got married in 2007 to Nojiri Yoshitaka (38), the head of wedding services company Take and Give Needs.
Yasutaka Komiya, an 84-year-old craftsman, sat on a woven tatami mat floor flicking through piles of exquisitely decorated rainbow-hued silk.
"I started learning how to dye kimono fabrics in this style when I was 12," he said. "A few hundred years ago, thousands of people were doing this. But today? We are one of only three families left in Japan who can do this work."
The kimono industry, which produces one of the most enduring cultural symbols of Japan, is in crisis. Previously sustained by the need to dress an entire nation in traditional costume, it has today shrunk to a fraction of its former size.
Now leading figures in the industry are warning that within a decade the art of traditional kimono making, a crown in Japan’s cultural heritage, could die out altogether as a generation of Japanese craftsmen who have spent a lifetime using specialist skills inherited from their own parents are now in their eighties.
Soichi Sajiki, whose family has made the garments for 200 years, said: "Japan’s kimono industry is at a critical stage. We are seriously struggling to find ways of passing on our precious craftsmanship to the next generation.
"From the silk cocoon to the final product, there are more than 1,000 processes involved in one kimono, each carried out by different specialist craftsmen. It can take 40 years to master a single technique.
"Most craftsmen today are over 80 and within the next 10 years, many will pass away. We are in real danger of losing thousands of years of kimono-making techniques."
Female golfers in Japan can now remove their bras and practise their putting no matter where they are.
Called the “Nice Cup In Bra,” by Triumph International Japan, this “lingerie” consists of a grass-green top that, when removed, conveniently unfurls into a 1.5-meter-long putting mat. When the user sinks a putt into one of the cups, a built-in speaker pumps out a cry of “Nice shot.”
In addition to functioning as a practice mat, the bra incorporates features that can come in handy on the course, such as pockets for storing extra balls and tees, as well as a detachable flag pin that doubles as a score pencil.
The bottom half of the lingerie consists of a detachable pink skirt with the words “Be Quiet” printed in bold letters on the rear. When removed, the extra-short skirt can be used as a flag to encourage onlookers to remain silent.
According to the maker, the Nice Cup In Bra — which is not yet for sale — was created in response to the growing popularity of golf among females in Japan, and is designed to appeal to busy working women looking for a unique and convenient way to practice their putt.
Twice a year, Triumph International Japan unveils a new concept bra that highlights a popular trend or draws attention to social issues.