Not again…!


>> I love how this is deftly timed right after I've bankrupted myself with my Tokyo trip… go forth fellow Londoners and reap the rewards…


Toga Universe


I have to thank the kind folks at Elle Girl Japan (yup, it still exists there…) who took me on a whirlwind shopping tour around Tokyo facilitating me the opportunity to take pictures without having to awkwardly pull out a piece of paper with a dorky bit of text in Japanese saying "I'm a fashion blogger.  I get this many hits a day.  I like your store.  Please allow me to take pictures for my blog."

Of course in many stores in Tokyo, like in most big cities, taking pictures is not normally allowed unless pre-arranged so in the case of going to Toga's Harajuku store, I was especially grateful for the Elle Girl peeps' help.  It wasn't that long ago that I heaped love over Toga, one of the more well-established Japanese labels that is fairly well stocked when compared to its other contemporaries.  Yasuka Furuta seems to have managed to blend her love of vintage clothes to create several lines of clothing that deconstruct and reconstruct until it makes complete sense.  It's actually quite hard to place a style genre on Toga clothing and that's precisely what I like about it – there's an ambiguity that works well when you're buying a piece or two (sadly for most, Toga isn't for bulk buying as most of the pieces are fairly expensive… which makes each piece all the more special…).  My own Toga count is now up to four pieces and they seemingly aren't linked to one another but it's a certain detail that I pick up on which makes it special be it a tactile bit of grey patent in a biker jacket or an original marble print on a pair of wrapover trousers.


I've already harped over the S/S 11 collection filled with flocked leopard print of all sorts which LN-CC and Feathers in London have picked upon.  In the Harajuku store, the full collection was on display.  Toga in abundance is pure joy to me when I normally just see it in dribs and drabs and in singular pieces buried on rails.  To see the full range kind of made me a little overly giddy…



In particular, it was great to see the full range of shoes that Toga have designed to complement the flocked leopard print…





Toga Archives is the mainline but the store also houses subsidiary lines such as Toga Picta, a line that indulges Christmas Tree fancies where old Toga pieces are deconstructed and decorated with vintage trimmings taken from Furuta's own collection.  The effect is something that is more dishevelled and haphazard than the mainline and perhaps less 'trend' orientated but definitely reflects Furuta's own pick n' mix design philosophy.  This is also the basis of Toga's other vintage up-cycling initiative wherby Furuta buys up deadstock of Dickies trousers and then embellishes them with trims that have come from Toga's studio renewing them.  If it weren't for the fact that Dickies material scratches the hell out of my thighs then I would have plumped for a pair…



Toga Pulla, the more 'casual' line to Toga was also fully present in the store and is definitely impossible to find in Europe.  I say 'casual' but with S/S 11 containing well-draped scarf prints (created by Furuta herself), lush navy dresses with interesting ruched detailing and military-inspired cut-out trenches, there is actually nothing remotely diffusion-y about Toga Pulla and really stands as its own line against the mainline. 


In an annexe off the store is a cosy hut housing Furuta's collection of vintage clothes that are also available to buy.  Her picks are concise but interesting.  I'll delve into Tokyo's choice selection of vintage in another post…



I couldn't leave without a few things in hand for the pure reason that my "I can't buy this in London/Europe" rule totally applied in this instance.  This Toga Archives stretch kilt/skirt with fringing needs a few more experimentations with its layering potential but whilst in Tokyo, I got it together with a vintage slip and a very un-Uniqlo UT shirt for Uniqlooks, to play around with the one-size stretchiness of the skirt…

(For UNIQLooks: Worn with vintage slip, Uniqlo UT floral print t-shirt, Zanita x Funkis clogs)




Perusing the A/W 11-12 lookbooks on a CD disc got me simultaneously excited and sad.  Having discovered the full Toga universe in its Tokyo Harajuku store, with all its lines and accessories, it's going to be a bit difficult knowing full well that there's always going to be limitation as to the selection of Toga stock in London/Europe.  I'm not going to lie though.  The trip fully impelled me to make going to Tokyo an annual occurence so there's hope yet.  This is Toga's A/W 11-12 Pulla collection full of cosy layerings of fleece, denim, velvet and satin all styled up in a way that for me sums up my ideal winter formula of five-plus layers…






For Toga Archives' mainline, it gets slightly more decorative as again and I suppose there are riffs off of a certain 'ladylike' dressing that stays true to the rest of the A/W 11-12 season.  The prim bows, capes of brocade, shaved furs and longer lengths of skirt though are imbued with a playfulness that sees geometric embroidery, unexpected layers and colours like yellow/lime and coral pink thrown in to ensure nothing is overly 'chi-chi'. 


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Kita-Kore Finds


>> The "I bought this in Tokyo…" posts inevitably continues with much of it irrelevant for purchase unless you're planning on going to Tokyo and wanting to find something of a similar ilk.  This especially applies for the following finds that were procured on my visit to the Kita-Kore building in Koenji.  It has to be said that I did go on my first official shopping day of the trip and got a little excited that a) Fashion Hayley's recommendation did live up to her high praise and b) converting prices to yen on my phone made everything seem bargainous.  Perhaps my aforementioned rule of "Could I buy this in London/Europe/online for the same/lower price?" may have went out of the window here because technically some of this stuff could be found if I looked hard enough or got lucky enough.  The fact of the matter is, it would have been a hard task and so effectively getting high on finds in the amazing Kita-Kore shack was a much more rewarding experience…


First up… a remade vintage jacket from the front of Kita-Kore, Hayatochiri.  Remember Leslie Hall's amazing array of gem sweaters?  Well perhaps, she'd also be into this patchwork dotted jacket that is heavy with embroidery, pearls and rhinestones swirling about that makes perfect sense when 'connected' with a P.A.M. 'Connections' sweater that I picked up in Sydney. 



(Worn with P.A.M. 'Connections' sweater, vintage skirt, Milin shoes, mercibeaucoup socks)


Garter in Kita-Kore was where I came out with a bag full of joy starting with this vintage Versace shirt.  I never know the ins and outs of dodgy licensing deals done in the 80s/90s with all the big superbrands but I suspect this shirt is one of them.  Nevertheless, I had to get it for its jovial loudness with traces of the print reminding me of more recent Versace designs as well as contemporary print meisters like Mary Katrantzou. 



(Worn with pink Phi shorts, Peter Jensen shoes)


The one brand-new item I got from Kita-Kore was this jacket by a Thai label called Curated.  I've been delving into all things South East Asia thanks to Blueprint's tradeshow in Singapore so it seems to make sense that I go to Tokyo and find another interesting Thai designer to look into.  This blue mesh biker jacket is part of Curated's Exhibition line entitled 'X-Ray', a collection of see-through pieces influenced by photographer Nick Veasey.  At 50% off making this jacket ¬£100, I like to think of it as an equally attractive alternative to a Christopher Kane neon lace biker jacket



(Worn with vintage zig-zag from Hayatochiri, Jonathan Saunders stripy dress, Heavy Machine shoes)


Finally, I can never resist vintage Moschino and this tartan frayed jacket from its Jeans line was too good to pass up.  In London, this could have been priced at ¬£200+ and still be thought reasonably priced.  In Garter, it was about ¬£80.  I nearly questioned the owner as to why his stuff was so amazingly priced but thought that stupid as I fully intend on raiding the place again when I next go to Tokyo again. 



(Worn with vintage flocked velvet skirt, Opening Ceremony quilted velvet skirt, Crockett & Jones embroidered slippers)



>> I'm afraid over the next few days most posts will begin with "I bought this in Tokyo…" but there's no getting away from the fact that my pure aim of my seven day jaunt to Tokyo was to EAT and SHOP and so it is that I return with 15kg extra luggage and err…a few kg on my own bodyweight.  I consider that mission completed as I gaze at my suitcase full of treats and linger over memories of amazing tonkatsu and fresh creamy tofu.  With regards to buying stuff, I had basically one rule when considering the buy "Could I buy this in Europe or on the obvious places on the web and at this price?"  If the answer is a resounding no, then it's a yay.  I think this Limi Feu wallet definitely ticks the box.  It's hard enough to find Limi Feu anything in London let alone a wallet by the label that's half off in price.  Limi Feu Unlimited in Daikanyama is a gem of a store where shop assistants follow you around with a calculator, as you yelp out the original price and then breathe a sigh of relief at the final discounted price as everything is between 50-70% off.  It was the strange colourway of a gradiated blue-to-nude that convinced me as well as its awkward size betwen wallet and clutch.  It just about fits the requisite phone, lip balm, Oyster, cashcard and keys fortunately so it can masquerade as a clutch if needs be.  So begins the "I bought this in Tokyo…" trail which will unfortunately linger on this blog for a while yet.  The subtext is of course quite clear… "GO TO TOKYO and you will NOT be disappointed!"