Back to Ann


July 4, 2015

by Gracia Ventus

Ann Demeulemeester

Ann Demeulemeester

Wearing Ann Demeulemeester jacket, trousers and boots; Yohji Yamamoto Y's shirt

Ann Demeulemeester is probably the only label that lets me get back to my boyish goth roots without looking like a Hot Topic victim.


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Rose in Comme in Tokyo


June 28, 2015

by Gracia Ventus

Comme-des-Garcons-ribbon-suit-1

Comme des Garçons 'Inifinity of Tailoring

Comme des Garçons 'Inifinity of Tailoring

It is no secret that Rei Kawakubo often recycles certain motifs over the years. This ribbon origami suit is a combination of several recurring themes - namely the cut of the suit (note the curved wide peak lapels), knots and ribbons, and cascading shawls with exaggerated ruffles over jackets.

Comme des Garçons

Comme des Garçons

Comme des Garçons Homme Plus

I used to laugh at Comme des Garçons. I thought it was an overhyped brand.

The me five years ago would look at these clothes, especially this ribbons suit and think, "Why the feck would anyone wear that, let alone be seen in public?" The me five years ago was also trying to look like Pat Benatar's understudy.

But our tastes change over time, which is why I have learnt never to say no to something. In the course of my blogging years I have made fun of Prada's creepers - the precursor of the creeper trend that has lasted for years and years, something I've become very fond of and currently sporting in these photos - alongside Comme's various misshapen clothes. I have come to the conclusion that no fashion item is inherently bad. It's just that we haven't found the best way to style it or re-interpret it, and in many cases we simply don't understand it. Just like how my parents did not understand why I wore black clothes almost everyday (This is what goths wear mom!).

Wearing outlandish Comme des Garçons out and about makes one vulnerable to the gaze of the public. But it takes courage to be vulnerable. I'm not implying that I'm the bravest soul on the planet. There are so many colourful characters in Tokyo who gave zero toss to what people think, unless they do so in order to find their tribe members. And that's what makes this city so wonderful. Everyone is given free reign to be weird and vulnerable, and rest assured there will be noone to give you a hard time for expressing your preference.

Comme des Garçons 'Inifinity of Tailoring

Comme des Garçons 'Inifinity of Tailoring

Wearing: Comme des Garçons suit; Y's shirt; Damir Dome creepers; Yves Saint Laurent bag


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Rose in Wang in Ginza


June 20, 2015

by Gracia Ventus

Issey Miyake

There are two beautiful temples near Waseda station that we passed by everyday. The gates were always open during the day, but not the doors to the temples themselves. As with most Buddhist temples in Japan, the gardens within the vicinity are extremely well-kept and artfully arranged with strategic placements of stone carvings and native plants.

For some reason there didn't seem to be any human activity in the temples. The beautiful spot calls for some appreciation and photo-op moments, but there was a level of sacredness that kept me from prancing around the grounds in conspicuous manner. Contrast that to one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan, Senso-Ji where everyone is free to frolic about as they please. The absence of people elevates the temples from historic grounds into spiritual sites. My reluctance to invade the perceived holiness compelled me to remain at the entrance for these shots and be all hush hush when I walked in to take a few subdued ones.

Issey Miyake


Issey Miyake
Some random wall at Shibuya, on the way to somewhere else


Dover Street Market
Not my photograph, obviously

In many ways Dover Street Market in Ginza is the fashion equivalent to a temple of the highest order, a monolithic structure made of glass and steel. The moment one steps in, the purity of the white chambers washes over reminding us that we are not worthy. Solemnity abounds in the midst of hallowed artefacts, guarded by holy priests and priestesses who move stealthily and observe with hawk-like visions from camouflaged corners. These sought-after objects - strategically displayed in calculated order - have been crafted by the most esteemed creators going by the names of Thom, Rick and Ann, amongst many others. Their worthiness is decided by the elusive members of Kawakubo caucus.

The aloof yet egalitarian cult of Comme welcomes all to this temple of desires, as long as you don't take photographs. Move with grace, speak with care, because you would never know what you might break if you are glued to your device while walking. The faithfuls converse in hushed tones to respect the sanctity of the halls (and because Japan y'kno), except for a flock of nouveau worshippers from the neighbouring shores whose collective taste is limited to dull commonplace wares stamped with heart-shaped insignia. One doubts that they have received the memo.

Issey Miyake

At the uppermost chamber lies the beautiful Rose Bakery, where delicious food and beverages are plentiful. Unlike its London counterpart, this space does not skimp on ceiling height nor seating. Beyond the doors lies the bridge connecting the house of worship to an equally vast fashion mecca for the masses one calls Uniqlo (speaking of which has the 'Qlo-Maire stuff dropped yet?).

Issey Miyake

And just like the Buddhist temples, this place too has its own garden, complete with a small shrine. It is a tranquil spot that is perfect for respite and reflection, especially when one is contemplating whether one needs another pair of geobaskets in life.

Will it be cheaper to buy them here at tax-free price, or order them off Luisa via Roma?

Such is the decisions we must make in our existence. But at least one has that private green patch of contemplation where noone will judge nor know of your showrooming activities.

Issey Miyake

Wearing Issey Miyake cardigan; Romeo Gigli skirt; Alexander Wang x H&M bra; Yves Saint Laurent bag

Pictures courtesy of miss_galism and a_zile


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Rose in Issey in Tokyo


June 17, 2015

by Gracia Ventus

Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake

I made my way to Japan very recently to meet several people from Styleforum & Harajuju for some fashion and food-related debauchery, although in fairness there is little convincing needed to return to the fascinating country. Previously I stayed in another subdued but vibrant neighbourhood in Nerima, where food and drinks can be found aplenty. This time round, a few of us shared an apartment in a neighbourhood close to Waseda, some stops away from the crowded Shibuya/Shinjuku area - less food places but the architecture of the surrounding homes was astounding. Older houses are made of wood that shows beautiful discolouration, while newer buildings are very much angular and stark (a Minimalist’s wet dream). There was much variant in use of materials, shapes and colours, but I love the prominent use of grey bricks with black trimmings. As a matter of fact, despite having lived in various Asian and Western cities, the only place where I have come across black and grey houses is Tokyo.

Waseda Neighbourhood

Issey Miyake


Where Waseda is a melting pot of typical old and new Japanese architecture, Daikan-yama feels almost like a Western precinct with plastered brick and glass fascade, alongside the overall vibe of the area. There is very little Japanese food to be found here. Most establishments serve Western cuisines that the locals are very fond of such as pancakes, pasta, burgers and organic juices, and most recently a craft beer brewery that reminded me of American bistros. This is where many accessible luxury labels opened their flagship stores, such as APC and Jas M.B. Friends and families spend their weekends here brunching and sipping coffee brewed with the trendiest method (aeropress? french press? ugh I do not know my coffee sorry).

Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake

For fans of artisanal labels, this is THE place to find a big dollop of Poell, MA+, Layer-0 and the likes in the two sister stores called Lift Étage and Lift Ecru. While the section for women is somewhat limited compared to that of men’s, their Guidi buys are adventurously diverse. Thigh high boots in four different leathers and colour ways, several odd-shaped heels (one I’ve fallen in love with but couldn’t fit into), and the classic zip-up and lace-up ankle boots. If you are a fan of clothing that can stand and probably walk on their own à la Poell, I’d highly suggest looking into Deepthi and Taichi Murakami.

Issey Miyake
In Lift Ecru. Oddly enough they stock Stephan Schneider too.

Lift

Lift
Left: Lift Étage staff; Right: Taichi Murakami

Fans of artisanal fragrance might like to know that Le Labo is situated a stone’s throw away from the station, and five minutes away from the flagship Julius store. Speaking of Julius, I have never been much of a fan despite owning a couple of pieces. The runway styling is often overwrought and tedious. But when I saw these two in full Julius gear I may have changed my opinion quite a fair bit.

Julius _7Julius _7
Photo courtesy of child_of_scorn


Issey Miyake

Daikan-yama is a testament of Japan’s technical prowess to appropriate outside cultures and identities. It is difficult to give them flak for it because they are capable of reproducing those cultural products with a tremendous amount of respect for the craftsmanship, and often with higher expertise than the originators, ie. whiskey and Americana workwear. It is not uncommon for Japanese craftsman to hone their skills in the product’s country of origin. That is not to say that there hasn’t been instances of reappropriation with derogatory intent. However, when one is surrounded by beautiful creations one can't help but to appreciate the skilfulness in which the Japanese reinterprets other cultures.

Issey Miyake

Wearing: Issey Miyake Pleats Please shawl; Y's shirt; Comme des Garçons 'Comme Comme' skirt; Damir Doma boots; Yves Saint Laurent bag

Photos of me courtesy of miss_galism and a_zile


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Robot Rick 2.0


June 2, 2015

by Gracia Ventus

Rick Owens

Rick Owens

Rick Owens

Rick Owens

Rick Owens
Wearing: Rick Owens jacket and boots; COS cotton poplin dress

This has been an experiment in silhouette and volume.


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