Japanese? Yes Please!

The best of Tokyo Autumn/Winter 2013/14 Fashion Week

Tokyo Fashion Week took place the same week as our fashion week here in Toronto (TWINSIES) last month. Here in Canada, the weather was still appropriately chilly enough to keep us in the spirit of the Fall/Winter collections that were being shown, though the story in Tokyo was a bit different with the sakura trees in full, pink bloom.

Tokyo fashion is known for a lot of things, most notably for not being boring, and I have to say, in this regard the collections did not disappoint. Streetwear tends to reign supreme, and you can always expect to see a lot of playing with pattern, colour, and proportion. Most importantly, Japanese designs are always fun.

MR. GENTLEMAN

First of all, how could you not like this collection based on the name alone? Japanese brands always have the most delightful names (there is a store in Shibuya called Nude Trump, which is probably my favourite). MR. GENTLEMAN is the brainchild of two Tokyo veteran designers, Takeshi Osumi from menswear brand PHENOMENON and Yuichi Yoshii, who is known for organizing the VERSUS TOKYO shows.

The look at MR. GENTLEMAN is classic English prep with a twist. The preppy look is pretty popular in Asia, but because it doesn’t have the same cultural connotations as it does in the West, Asian designers tend to have a lot more fun with it. In this collection the tweed shorts are paired with matching boutonnieres on the jackets, and dress shirts have boxy, high collars.
You’ll find the full collection here.

Facetasm

Pronounced “Facet-asm,” Facetasm has become one of the more well known Tokyo fashion brands since its debut in 2007. Facetasm is classic Japanese streetwear through and through. The A/W 2013 collection is pretty futuristic looking, but some of the skirts almost look like pleated kimono. This kind of haphazard layering is very Japanese. I’m pretty sure I could never pull it off, but here it looks amazing.

Leather and shearling manskirts make up the menswear side—this is not the only collection that seemed to have them. I officially call a trend! Facetasm’s certainly look like they’ll keep your junk warm and cozy (feel free to use this in your marketing copy, Facetasm).
The full collection can be viewed on Style.com.

Gut’s Dynamite Cabarets

See what I mean about the names? I don’t think I would want to go to a gut’s dynamite cabaret though. Sounds messy. Gut’s Dynamite Cabarets is notorious for its drag queen following. It’s definitely a fun, edgy show, and A/W does not disappoint: love all the fur and patterns. I think some of those coats might even be warm enough to survive a Canadian winter. I am also in lusting for the tights in this show (LEOPARD PRINT!). Japan has the best patterned tights ever, and this will not be the only show in which you see them. I even know where to buy them, but unfortunately I am neither short nor thin. Someone please buy some and make me insanely jealous.
See the full collection at Women’s Wear Daily.

Dresscamp

Dresscamp really played with pattern and structure, and this collection has some really amazing detailing that only becomes apparent up close (this dress, for example, whose skirt is actually made up of small, laser cut and edged pieces of fabric). Leopard print is also heavily featured. For women, flower inspiration is evident (a bit weird for a winter collection, but I guess that’s probably the time of year when you need to look like a plant the most). In menswear, the military, both past and present, seems to be heavy influences.
See the full collection at Fashioninsing.

mercibeaucoup

Mercibeaucoup’s fall 2013 collection is for the free spirit in all of us who doesn’t believe in tight pants, or tops, or really feeling constrained by their clothing at all. This free spirit is also obsessed with soccer. This is an extremely Japanese collection, with a typically Japanese sensibility towards both prep and streetwear. And while it’s not really my personal style, I definitely want this graphic, oversized sweater in my closet.

See the full collection at Style.com.

Anrealage

Anrealage definitely falls under the spectrum of classic and pretty, but regardless I absolutely love this collection (especially the dresses that are inspired by kimono). Also love? The wigs made out of paper. This is also one of the few collections where the models are wearing a heel. It’s a very low heel too. I’m not sure why (maybe it’s because everyone has to walk and commute so much), but flats or platforms rule the Tokyo streets more than heels do, and that’s been reflected in pretty much all the fall collections. See the full collection at Fashionising.

Jotaro Saito

Jotaro Saito is one of Japan’s youngest kimono designers (he launched his first collection at 27), and he comes from a long line of traditional Japanese fashion artists. His grandfather was a dye artist, and his father is also a kimono designer. Jotaro Saito takes a different, more modern approach to kimono design, however. Saito aims to design “kimono as fashion matched with modern space.” His kimono definitely are cut and patterned in a much sleeker, more modern style (and definitely with a bit more leg showing). I particularly love the patchwork look on the women’s kimono, and the braided belts on the men’s.

See the full collection here.

Araisara

Pretty much all of the jackets in this collection are perfect and I want all of them on me right now, but especially the blazer-y one. No wait, especially this sheer, cape-y one. And the flower peplums! So much good tailoring at Araisara. I mean…great? Too busy coveting to care.

See the full collection at Fashionising.

motonari ono

Motonari ono’s fall/winter collection is also completely killing it on the coat and blazer front. While it is largely warmer in Japan than in North America in the winter, but I’m still not sure why we’re seeing so many tailored shorts with bare legs looks across a lot of the collections. At motonari ono, they’re small and floral, and wouldn’t look out of place on a Mori Girl (albeit a very high fashion one).

See the full collection here.

Christian Dada

It’s like The Crow decided to give up revenging and became a fashion designer. This is a compliment, because there are GIANT BLACK WINGS ON THE SHOES. HOW IS THAT NOT THE BEST THING EVER? This collection does not give a fuck about looking pretty, and you’ve got to love that.

See the full collection at Fashionising.

“You Can’t Play Metal in a Pink Dress.” An Interview with Mares of Thrace

Mares of Thrace are a two-piece metal band hailing from Calgary, Alberta. No novices, band members Thérèse Lanz and Stef MacKichan have been playing extremely heavy music together for nearly ten years, finding their roots in riot grrrl punk. Besides being phenomenal players in their field, they are also feminist minded and fashion conscious women who quite literally know how to rock pink. Mares of Thrace and Jenna Wornette caught up for beers on a patio and vintage shopping in the Annex to chat about fashion, subculture, and sexism.

Who or what inspires your style?
Thérèse: I really like Victorian stuff and a lot of Japanese street fashion, even though it’s one of those things I admire in theory but would never ever wear in a million years. There is a pretty big gap between my fashion theoretically and my fashion in practice. There are things that make the aesthetic part of my brain hum, but I know that it’s always going to come down to jeans and a t-shirt, because I’m constantly moving heavy stuff, and being in filthy dirty places. I really like DIY fashion – it’s kind of my financial Achilles heel. If these things were on a rack in any other store at the mall I would never shell out this much money for them, but here it’s someone’s art! I have a tradition that every time I come to Toronto on tour I try and find a DIY garment and buy it as a souvenir.

Stef: Honestly, I never thought I would do an interview about fashion in a million years! What guides my fashion sense is cost and being a drummer. Everything needs to be comfortable, loose fitting and inexpensive.

Is there a difference between what you wear on stage and the rest of the time?
Thérèse: It depends on the occasion. I mean, at the inception of this music act, we sort of adopted the dress as reclaiming traditional femininity; in the name of strength and competence and being empowered. I’ve heard people say stuff like, “oh that band makes this band sound like they wear skirts,” when talking about a heavy band, implying that this then makes this band seem lame and weak. So we were like “fuck that we’re going to be heavy AND wear skirts!” So in a way we wanted to re-appropriate the dress and the frilly skirt as an iconic thing but unfortunately that doesn’t always work out in practice.

Stef: I tried to wear bows for awhile every time we played on stage. I got pink drums. Just as a good ol’ “up yours.”

Thérèse: I once heard someone say “she can’t play metal in a pink dress,” and as soon as I heard that, I knew that I was going to wear a pink dress as often as I could. On tours sometimes when you’re tired and feeling a little worn down it’s hard to want to spruce yourself up.
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