Tokyo Redux

Tokyo Redux

I didn't get to go to the A/W 12-3 edition of Tokyo Fashion Week but I did get to relive my experience from last October by way of the S/S 12 collections that are in store right now.  I'm not normally a "I see on catwalk, I buy pronto" kinda gal.  Well, normally that strategy requires a fair bit of dosh unless you get a cheeky discount, do a cheeky personal order or wait it out until the sales.  That said, Tokyo is now my bi-annual indulgence – a place where I eat and shop and live up to the reputation, that all people who originate from Hong Kong do those two acvities very well indeed.  Therefore, blowing out on a few items that linked back to my Tokyo Fashion Week S/S 12 experience was a treat to myself.  Oh, and I can just reassure myself with the old chestnut about physically supporting the things that I write about.  There's justification for everything.  

First up, a bit of Peno-meno aka PhenomenonThe Contemporary Fix in Aoyama, once again ensnared Steve, Phil, Tommy and I in there with their fine mix of Tokyo's best menswear selection, super kind shop assistants and tomato flavoured gelato downstairs.  We spent far too long trying EVERY single thing on.  With regards to this Phenomenon S/S 12 dragon printed red shirt that could be fit for a Japanese yakuza gang member, Phil and I tussled over whether it was worth BOTH of us getting the same shirt, when we could easily borrow it between us.  We then decided that trans-Atlantic borrowing, with me in London and him in New York, wasn't going to work, which is why you see us here fooling around in Tsukji market (we queued two hours for Sushi Dai – it was bloody worth it) looking like Phenomenon's biggest loser fans. 


Of course designer Takeshi Osumi of Phenomenon was looking towards Japanese garment regalia for references in his S/S 12 collection and this shirt is probably the most visually recognisable as  "Japanese" in the scheme of the collection.  That said, the dragons and some of the patternation took me back to the A/W 12-3 Qing dynasty permutations from collections such as Jason Wu and Dries Van Noten.  Both have got me rethinking my attitude towards Far East Asian-inflected collections.  The positive upshot of all of this is that, five years ago, I would never have touched this Phenomenon shirt with a bargepole but now suddenly, I'm all gung-ho about dragons and imperial yellow and red all over my body.  Another personal taboo knocked down.  All I need to do now is get over wearing the colour poo brown and navel-revealing garments and then I'm all set.    







(Worn with Comme des Garcons mens satin kilt, Nicholas Kirkwood shoes.  In first pic, Comme des Garcons Tricot scarf print skirt, Christopher Kane brocade sandals)

Phenomenon's useful product drop blog throws up a few choice items from the S/S 12 collection, that are dragon-free, if you fear of looking like you're taking part in some sort of themed costume float. 


In other Phenomenon news, menswear nuts out there will probably already know that Osumi aka Big 'O' of Phenomenon has teamed up with The Contemporary Fix owner Yuichi Yoshi to launch their own brand Mr. Gentleman.  There's nothing annoyingly dapper or twee about this label though.  Their impressive A/W 12-3 lookbook has just been released and rest assured, we'll be back hanging out at The Contempory Fix in October, eating more seasonal gelato and trying on all the new Mr. Gentleman bits. 


Next up is a long-awaited Jenny Fax wardrobe addition.  Jenny Feng and her label Jenny Fax have been beguiling me for a while now and her show last October was one of my visual highlights of 2011.  I raced over to Harajuku multi-brand store Macaronic as soon as I found out Jenny Fax was stocked there and lo and behold, one of my favourite pieces from the collection – a pleated pinafore dress with knitted straps picked out by flashes of neon and red – was hanging on the rails.  Handily, the neon in the Jenny Fax dress happens to pick up on the neon in my now battered Nike neon Oldhams.

With this S/S 12 collection, Fax explored the demented hierarchy within a girl's school to arresting effect and specifically she fused American high school culture with the cliched aesthetics of Japanese school girls to come up with something that isn't just a straightforward pastiche of all things kawaii.








(Worn with Tao by Comme des Garcons shirt, Nike trainers.  Note: All aforementioned Comme pieces were all bought in the ever-awesome Rag Tag stores dotted all over Tokyo.  Designer consignment shopping for Comme plays a huge part in our trips to Tokyo)

Her latest A/W 12-3 collection is a continuation of her previous one, influenced once again by Jenny's upbringing, a combination of being Taiwanese born, American high-school-educated and currently Japanese-based.  She looks to 90s girlhood imagery – Shampoo, Spice Girls, Laura Palmer, Clueless and Drew Barrymore and her daisy days – and combines it all with high school clicques.  She put on not one but two presentation, one that was Japanese otaku and car-wash themed, with school girls in all shapes and sizes running all over the place and her other main presentation where the real clothing action took place, with disctinctly darker vibes.  Four girls were arranged into Heathers/The Craft type formation with retro screens flashing with Jenny's inspiration imagery.  The collection itself features more of those uniform-inspired garments mixed with a kinky edge – the satin is somehow too shiny, the plastic too plasticky and the pastels too candy like -  the sad expressions on the girl's faces tell another tale behind all that prettiness.  The vintage wedding photo printed on a sweatshirt is particularly eerie.  It makes you want to stare but then look away in a flash.  Fortunately for Jenny, once the clothes are out of her own designated context, they gain another life on their own, precisely why I'll be back to Tokyo to stalk these pieces when they're merely on hangers on a rail. 





Ima10 Ima11






Leave a comment
  1. Serdane

    2012-05-17 at 7:13 AM

    Oh God ! How stylish you can be sometimes !

  2. Miss Coco

    2012-05-17 at 7:23 AM

    Woau!! Your pictures are amazing!!
    Miss Coco

  3. betty

    2012-05-17 at 8:19 AM

    i wont say this is style or fashion but more of an art !! ur an artist and u have such an amazing attention to details prints etc!! thats what differs u from the rest !!! hmmm i cant even explain ! but one word .. LOVE IT

  4. Kazuko

    2012-05-17 at 9:14 AM

    oh that CDG men’s kilt… love!

  5. Horst

    2012-05-17 at 9:17 AM

    what about the latest Dries collection then? Asian scarf prints…

  6. Clare

    2012-05-17 at 9:26 AM

    I love Tokyo fashion!
    Can you recommend good online fixes?

  7. Alex

    2012-05-17 at 10:00 AM

    Wow, I absolutely love that skirt with the knitted top bit. I wasn’t quite sure wether the knitted piece was a separate piece or part of a skirt?

  8. Duck

    2012-05-17 at 10:02 AM

    “Oh, and I can just reassure myself with the old chestnut about physically supporting the things that I write about.”
    This is something I think about a lot. I know so many people who write about and promote fashion and designers, particularly young designers, but would never contemplate paying for the goods themselves. Even worse, they judge the people who *do* buy them. Obviously I can’t afford to pay full price for something all the time but sometimes you just cave…or are convinced it is such a ‘must have’ type piece that it will never make it into the sales. I realise most people don’t have the luxury of *ever* buying RTW at full-price (and I only can once or twice a year) but the number of people I’ve met who judge you for doing is becoming ridiculous and smacks of hypocrisy. You love the fashion industry but don’t actually want people to support the designers financially? Right…
    Looking good as ever!

  9. Suzi

    2012-05-17 at 11:54 AM

    Love everything here Susie. You look so sweet!
    Suzi x

  10. Remy Kelvin

    2012-05-17 at 5:58 PM

    Fashion reflects the culture of an area. This looks to be very traditional. Nice post.

  11. maya.autumn

    2012-05-17 at 6:11 PM

    love it,
    just love it all
    IT’S COMPLETELY BRILLIANTTTTT (if ya didn’t know already!)

  12. Mickey Lynn Jewelry

    2012-05-17 at 8:21 PM

    Such and interesting and gorgeous collection of photos! Love them!

  13. Alan

    2012-05-17 at 10:21 PM

    Like a freight-train of Freakin’ Fabulous Fluro.. what an outfit!
    Yatta 😀

  14. susie_bubble

    2012-05-18 at 2:47 AM

    I mentioned that in the post – that the recent Qing dynasty references in collections like Jason Wu and Dries Van Noten – were making me rethink the way I feel about Asian references in collections. I loved the way Dries abstracted those motifs though – will be exploring that collection further when I get back to London to go to the V&A (where Dries got his inspiration from…)

  15. susie_bubble

    2012-05-18 at 2:54 AM

    This is a touchy point you raise. Obviously, I’m aware that I’m in a fortunate position where I can “treat” myself and put my money where my mouth is by buying designer pieces. At the same time, I don’t want to encourage frivolous expenditure. Everyone’s circumstances are different. I agree though – I don’t believe in this “I’m holier than thou because I don’t buy designer stuff and ONLY get my clothes from thrift store” attitude. Everyone’s entitled to their own mode of shopping depending on their financial situation. I’m very traditional – my money, my business.
    I especially think it smacks of hypocrisy if you bang on about fashion, designers etc and then turn around and judge people for actually spending money on fashion. Fair enough if you don’t want to/can’t spend yourself but surely the point is to pay for the things you love/support so that their businesses can flourish. It’s silly to think that we can critique designers’ work as though it was untouchable art. What makes this system go around in cyclical formation IS the spending.

  16. Nathan Niche

    2012-05-18 at 7:22 AM

    this is a great subject that i often ponder whenever people ask me on shopping or what not… i like ur statement of how everyone’s entiteld to their own ‘mode’ of shopping. if u CAN afford to splurge all the time then by all means, buy all the RTW u want, most people fall in the realm’s of buying some RTW, sales, thrifts etc.. I do hate it when people stick their noses where they dont belong…
    PS. love all the knitwear, appreciating the details 🙂
    xx nathan.niche

  17. amazingfashion

    2012-05-18 at 9:37 AM

    I love all this!

  18. Mode French Place

    2012-05-18 at 10:51 AM

    Your shoes on the first pictures are cute !!

  19. Joy D.

    2012-05-18 at 7:37 PM

    Jennie Fax makes some great accessories! Your trips to Tokyo are always inspiring. I hope you get to go again.

  20. h-vogue

    2012-05-19 at 6:49 AM

    Oh God ! How stylish you can be sometimes !

  21. Alice

    2012-05-19 at 12:13 PM

    Brilliant photos!!
    I love them!
    Take a look at my fashion illustrations and art (and follow if you like):

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  23. Laurice | Fashion Fit Out

    2012-05-19 at 9:13 PM

    This kind of post is kinda inspiring! Every thing you have shared here in your post are really eye catching – a.k.a. high class fashion! 🙂

  24. Cristián Pavez Díaz

    2012-05-19 at 10:27 PM

    I’ve always said that Tokyo is by far the trendiest city ever. Nice post!!
    Greetings from Santiago, Chile.
    Twitter: @cristianpavezd

  25. Oana Cilibiu

    2012-05-20 at 8:56 PM

    wowww love this , xoxo Oana

  26. aaroh

    2012-05-22 at 9:06 AM

    Dragon is everywhere in Tokyo, Don’t be afraid it’s not real dragon, it’s the traditional dragon. Ha ha ha.
    Nice dress, nice pictures shared.

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