Rustling Papers

Rustling Papers

I didn't get to go to Japan Fashion Week back in March just after the fashion week rounds in NY/Lon/Milan/Paris but Tim Blanks from did.  The verdict?  Go check out the Tsutaya T-Site bookstore in Daikanyama.  Alright, it's a little off the track of fashion and there were of course other things to glean from JFW, but I did take Tim's advice to go for a midnight jaunt to this wonderful three-building luxurious ode to the enjoyment of books nestled in chi-chi Daikanyama.  Midnight, you ask?  This bookstore is open until 2am everyday with a tasteful cocktail lounge upstairs for you to sip wine whilst perusing your book selection.  If that sounds all polite and grown-up, that's because T-Site is just that.  The fastidious respect to the artistic power of print is evident in the brilliant selection of design, cookery, interiors, photography and fashion titles.  Somehow Japanese editions of books I've seen back at home just look better, thus making you pick it up, thus encouraging you to flick through it in either the coffee shop, the generous amount of seating or the aforementioned plush cocktail lounge upstairs and then finally making that purchase either with a cashier or a self-check-out till.  The music and film sections were equally impressive.  I couldn't snap them well but there was a curated selection of yer' typical fashion inspiration DVDs with these cute illustrations of the style showcased in films such as Pretty in Pink, √Ä Bout de Souffle and Funny Face, sitting next to them.

Naturally, the magazine section was heaving with people (reminded me of the days of congregating in the mag section in Borders Charing Cross Road/Oxford Circus) and as I couldn't take home heavy coffee table books, a few suitcase-friendly zines came home with me.  I must be prone to zooming in between extremes in Tokyo.  Earlier in the day, I had just experienced a whazz of colour, flash and jangle in another visit in the Kita Kore and yet at Tsutaya, I was drawn to the quiet clothes that whispered from the matte pages of a) a limited edition New York-printed journal 'Cloth Inventory' by Lines & Shapes, created for the New York Art Book Fair and b) a copy of ku:nel Wear, a clothes-focused supplement to the popular ku:nel bi-monthly Japanese lifestyle magazine that focuses on the simple and the good life.   


The 'Cloth Inventory' is a thin zine but Lnea Corwin and Maria Alexandra Vettese do a wonderful job of photographing those "soft bits of cloth life all around us", which is a more poetic way of saying "the clothes that I wouldn still keep even if they got totally destroyed and started to disentegrate." 





This is *I think* the first ku:nel Wear supplement, published by ku:nel magazine.  Correct me if I'm wrong as I'm going by strange Google Translate.  "Only high-quality adult rather than a simple fashionable" is the other bit of garbled text I've gathered from the summary and what I think it means is this is a mook (magazine and book hybrid) dedicated to quality clothes that don't rely on trends.  At first glance, there's something rather The Gentlewoman-ish about the content and aesthetic – it focuses on pieces like the white shirt or a string of pearls, the combination of black and white, a simple stole and even in an editorial entitled "Color", whatever colour there is, it's used sparingly and in an isolated way.  Unsurprisingly there's a lot of love for Margaret Howell, who has an unwavering and pleasingly solid fanbase in Japan.  Despite my own ping-ponging tastes in Tokyo that range from the subversive vibes of labels like Jenny Fax and the DIY hi-jinx at Kita Kore to the irresistable cuteness of Tsumori Chisato and all things A-Net, there's something appealing about the spareness displayed in this publication as well as in hi-quality textile purist labels like 45rpm and Kapital.  The supplement isn't about stark minimalism but instead, there's something intimate and homely about it all.  And that's just me glancing through the imagery. 

Navigating through the myriad of publications at Tsutaya (I think Japan has the highest output of native fashion magazines with more sub-genres than any other country I can think of…) is one way of getting my head around the tribes, the styles and the aesthetics that continue to draw me to Tokyo on a now bi-annual basis.  Next time, I'll be hanging around Tsutaya until it closes.  Reading at 2am in the morning at some place other than your own bed/chair has got to feel pretty weird/amazing.     
















Leave a comment
  1. Serdane

    2012-05-14 at 8:20 AM
  2. maya.autumn

    2012-05-14 at 8:29 AM

    looks fantastic – and adorable too!

  3. jean cave

    2012-05-14 at 10:23 AM

    Where do I go for plain clothes for pre-teens? HELP?

  4. Anne H

    2012-05-14 at 10:56 AM

    Great article, like always! I am very much impresses with your work..


    2012-05-14 at 11:53 AM

    Great blog, very lovely to watch!!
    Blog love from STYLEFIG ( style shoot LONDON)

  6. La Vie Quotidienne

    2012-05-14 at 11:58 AM

    Amazing Work…cool pics…and i love the last pic…cute
    XOXO from MUNICH
    La Vie Quotidienne
    Visit me SHOP online =)

  7. Tian

    2012-05-14 at 12:48 PM

    Great article, the magazine looks really good.

  8. Julia

    2012-05-14 at 1:05 PM

    Hi Jean
    A great place to go for plain clothes for pre-teens is Popupshop ( and Le Vestiaire de Jeanne (

  9. Frida

    2012-05-14 at 6:58 PM

    Hi Susie!
    Inspiring entry as always =)
    I was just wondering if you know who the lacy slip is by? Does it say in the magazine?
    x Frida

  10. Mickey Lynn Jewelry

    2012-05-14 at 8:22 PM

    Such an inspirational post! I love all the fabrics and textures…

  11. Sumo

    2012-05-14 at 11:54 PM

    love the simplicity and textures

  12. voguesky

    2012-05-15 at 3:49 AM

    Once again unbeliable!! Great looks and nice pictures! Perfect!! 🙂

  13. Tribute to the Tribe

    2012-05-15 at 5:26 AM

    Those pictures are so poetic. Make me want to read the whole magazine.

  14. Thea vintage

    2012-05-15 at 10:05 AM
  15. Crystal

    2012-05-15 at 10:21 AM

    I heard you are coming to Bangkok so I’ll give you some tips since I’ve been here for 3 months already. And I’m so excited you are coming (I love your style and your blog)!!!
    Go to Platinum Mall (wholesale). A lot of other places like Siam Square just get stuff from Platinum Mall and sell it for higher prices. They have some pretty good things but you have to relly look. There are a lot of fake items there too like fake Kloset (Thai brand), but they have some good & original things too (my favorite is the square 2-color bracelet on the accessory floor). They also have great thai-style embroidered dresses. My favorite store for that is either on floor 1 or floor B near the side that is near the Platinum 2 building, but is in the Original Platinum building.I can’t remember which floor. Also, the lowest I’ve bargained at that store was 1000Baht per dress, and I think you have to buy 2 to get that price.
    I do not recommend buying shoes, ever, in Thailand. It is either really over priced imported stuff (not very unique too — mostly stilettos — no runway crazy stuff that you see in the US, Japan, Europe, online). And also Thai brand name shoes that are also overpriced (In department stores)!!
    I’ve never seen any unique shoes here, even in platinum.
    Also, I like going to trade shows like the Otop Trade show at IMPACT Arena. They have some good hand knitted clothes, but you have to look, and hand knitted dresses should be no more than 1,500Baht ~ 50USD (for ones that are hand knitted with many layers). Hand knitted tops should be around 500Baht (less than 20USD) or less. Anyone trying to sell you something for more than those is trying to cheat you!!!
    Otop trade shows also have benjarong (thai pottery – hand painted). My favorite store is Buran Benjarong. But you have to go a bit far if there are no trade shows to get the Buran Benjarong.
    Otop trade shows is also the place to Thai Silk. They have the best from all over Thailand and you can use them as scarves.
    Department stores like Central World and Siam Paragon have a lot of imported items and the tax is like over 100% or so (hidden import tax). Fly Now (Thai handbag brand) used to have good woven and braided leather bags… but I’m not so sure now (haven’t looked in a month). Fly Now is pretty expensive, because with the exchange rate now at around 30 Baht per USD, one bag is like USD$1000. (but go take a look, because you never know — but for that price some people say it is better to buy European brand name bags in Europe). The Fly Now bags used to be really unique, but they aren’t doing a lot of braiding and woven stuff like in the past (so it is not worth it anymore).
    If you want to eat, I recommend Thai Food. The Italian, Tex-mex, American food is a real let down most of the time (or any cultural food for that matter in Thailand). Even the Korean and Japanese food is not that authentic. Good restaurants in Bangkok:
    1. KaiThong (Golden Chicken) — very good Beef Rad Na. They have 2 places (one in Thonglor, and one near Impact Arena — in Muang thong thani)
    2. Laem Cha-Reon Seafood, CentralWorld or Ram Intra. — Great Pla Kapong Tod 3 Flavors (Fried 3-Flavor Sea Bass), good Khao Pad Phoo (Crab Fried Rice), Pla Kapong Tod Nam Pla (Fried Sea Bass with Fish Sauce). Great Seafood dishes.
    3. Paragon Food Court (at Siam Paragon in Bangkok). If you go to counter labeled no.12, after getting a food court card, get the Tom Yum Noodles. You have a choice of either ba-mee (yellow egg noodle), wide rice noodles and thin rice noodles with the tom yum noodle soup (it is not Tom yum Goong!! — different). I like mine with wide rice noodles. Yentafo noodle soup is good too. I like it with egg noodles. I tell them not to put any of the jelly blood in it. I hate it. I mostly like my noodle soups with crunchy fried wonton wrappers to dip into the soup, noodles,and veggies. I’m not into look-chin (thai meat balls) or any other meats that go into it.
    3.5. Paragon Food Court — great moo nam tok.(it’s a type of yum)and get the sticky rice too!! Not sure which counter.
    (you have to go to a specialty restaurant — not in the “SIAM” commercial area for other Issan food. The store I like is called Surin, in the Dusit area. It is on Sukho Thai Road, but near Rama V Road. So it is where Sukho Thai Road meets Rama 5 road. Also, you could take a short walk and admire the King’s Palace (Wang Suanjitlada).)
    3.55. Paragon food court – Khao Mun Gai — for this I like the fried chicken with the rice and the dark sauce (that goes with the regular chicken) — the dark sauce is made from yellow bean paste.
    4. Moom Aroy in Sri Racha (not in Bangkok– near the ocean) = great seafood.
    5. Chez R√©camier @ Isetan in Bangkok (If you must have cake — japanese/european style). Cheesecake is never good in Thailand. I like their fruit cake with fresh cream, and the orange w/ vanilla cream, and their cream puffs (raspberry is really good, and so is the original). I also like the grean tea cake.
    I don’t know what you like so I can’t really help. But Thai food in Thailand is the best Thai food. There are a lot more restaurants and food stalls but giving directions is hard here because most of the restaurants have Thai names.
    Good Luck.

  16. Joy D.

    2012-05-18 at 7:10 PM

    The layout is much more stark and minimal than I would imagine but I love the mix of designers.

  17. jewelraz

    2012-05-22 at 9:13 AM

    Nice share. Keep sharing these good things. Thanks

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