New Japanese alternative fashion mag: Underground Clothed’s

Awaking from my self-imposed exile  I see lots of exciting things happening in the alternative fashion world, one of which is the new magazine being launched by D’s ValentineArtism creator and Alamode Magazine publisher. I’ve carefully hung onto my issues of Alamode Magazine,  being snapshots in time of the current japanese underground gothic/alternative music scene.

Now D’s gone one step further and is about to release a new magazine featuring the FASHION of the japanese alternative gothic/lolita/cyber/fetish/akiba-kei scenes: Underground Clothed’s.

Note the sexy back of Kiki on the cover :) While Kikirara Shoten of Dangerous Nude is well known to lovers of Japanese gothic fashion, along with Takuya Angel and Kenzo-A of Rituals (largely thanks to Kera magazine), there are a lot of emerging labels that are barely known outside of Nippon. PureOne Corset Works and Pay *des* Fees I’m acquainted with, due to their ongoing presence in the goth clubs.  Strange Artifact, a steampunk band with an accessories line, I learned of during my last trip in November.  But so many are new to me : la Reinette, A closet of Alice, marchenmerry, Rouge, fake-fantasy…the list goes on.

Underground Clothed’s will be available at Takuya Angel, Dangerous Nude and Closet Child.  It is also available to order online at ARTiSM, or at Closet Child’s online webstore. I imagine in time it will be available at the various stores throughout Japan that stock Alamode Magazine.

Some pics to whet your appetite:

Japanese goth fashion, cybergoth, harajuku fashion

dangerous nude

(Doesn’t Kikirara look like blogger Cheesie here? Or is it just me?)

While I wasn’t going to return to japan for a while…I’m now considering a flying visit in March. If I manage it, I’ll definitely be bringing back copies of the mag, as well as more info about the various labels and stores in it.  (I also have an interview that I did with Kiki at her home last year, that will make its way to these pages).  Watch this space.

Nozomi Ishiguro 2011/12 Haute Couture collection

One of the Japan Fashion Week shows I that most wanted to see, which was rescheduled for April 15th was Nozomi Ishiguro.

That the collection was Autumn/Winter made it no surprise that fur and shearling was used liberally – but in surprising ways and with splashes of colour that proved Winter doesn’t have to be about grey and black. Bright corals and reds add pops of vibrant delicious colour with hints of regal majesty.

Rich in textural detail, outfits featured shearling skirts and long shaggy shearling boots bound with buckles, but paired with lace leggings for lightness and contrast. Knitwear is artfully distressed, as if unravelled through wear and perhaps battle.

Ishiguro used quilting to great effect, lending a futurist almost cyber look even when paired with shearling or folk details. It reminds me of Burberry Prorsum’s biker pants and jackets, except Ishiguro takes it a step further, fashioning almost a breastplate in the men’s jacket – instant six-pack, anyone?

The warrior armour motif continues in the men’s looks with the use of metallic blacks & greys, luxe silver knit that signifies chain-mail, fur pant overlays and totemic tribal touches – although the tall pilgrim hats on some models seem at odds with the theme to me.

Overall there was a Mongolian warrior meets the 21st century theme. I loved the long shaggy fur coats and boots, but found the furry flat shoes less successful.

Even the ubiquitous camel coloured coat is given an edgy makeover in Ishiguro’s hands, when paired with an intricate belt as befitting an urban warrior, as well as sequinned lapels, a lacy ethereal blouse and drapy pants. Likewise a camel knit skirt is unravelled and paired with an intricate folk print jacket – and platform stripper shoes! There is nothing safe about the use of camel in this collection.

One of my absolute favourite looks is the black and white striped confection below, for its Tim-Burton like aesthetic and its kookiness. Even just the headscarf alone, with the shaggy fur tufting up like a bleached dread mohawk, is intriguing, although I can’t see anyone rushing out to buy the dress with the half fur/half knit skirt – or are they pants?

There are numerous looks to love, as well as a few to ponder over. The folk-futurism of the collection is certainly memorable if not always wearable. What do you think? What are your favourite looks, that you’d wear (if money were no object?)

* Photos from Fashion Snap, but you can see the entire collection at the Nozomi Ishiguro website.

Kamishima Chinami

Kamishima Chinami is another show I’m looking forward to during  Japan Fashion Week A/W 2011-12.

Having launched her label in 1998 she showed her first collection in 2002, and opened her first store in Aoyama in 2004. Since then, she has had no less than 10 collections at Japan Fashion Week.  The most recent being….

The Spring Summer 2011 collection

In this collection her use of voluminous wigs proved distracting to some but certainly gave edge!

My favourite pieces were the more clearly eastern influenced ones with obi sashes or painterly, almost calligraphic floral prints.

 

 

Khaki coloured military or safari style jackets were paired with tight obi belts, feminising and softening the look, just as leather skirts toughened up flowing floral silk blouses:

 

There were quirky plays on texture as tight smooth skirts were paired with loose knitted tops covered in a multitude of ruffles in the divine coral colours of  a savannah sunset. Or dresses had form-fitting tops with the textured ruffles from the waist down.

 

Overall there was a lightness and an ease about the collection, seen as the models strode together down the runway:

Or see for yourself:


Even more interesting to me are some previous shows.

I especially loved the Spring Summer 09 collection which had somewhat of an African theme. The use of raffia (recently done by Sass and Bide, see last pic) reminds me of Masai headdresses. Some were in desert colours of ochre, while  black and cobalt blue were also used to striking effect.

 

 

Astonishing things were also done with safety pins to create unbelievable texture, the effect of which is couture, not punk, in aesthetic.

 

Kokon to Zai or KTZ & Marjan Pejovski

Here’s a brand that’s doing really well amongst indie hipsters on both sides of the Atlantic. Fashionistas in japan are lapping this label up as well as London types.

Kokon to Zai (KTZ) is the brainchild of duo Sasko Bezovski and Marjan Pejoski, begun in 97 but really surging forward from 08 when it took up its new digs in Notting Hill, and started collaborating with Top Shop and ASOS.

It certainly garners lots of opposing opinions with some people calling it (as part of Nu-Rave) the worst trend in the world (Searching for Style), to people gushing about it like Happy Because, and, well, Susie Bubble.

I love it because it is offbeat and highly embellished. There is a lot of detailing, quilting, embroidery, gem work or intricate patterns.

Some patterns, like the yellow camo are too screamingly loud for me, but I applaud the audacity. I definately prefer the quilted dress on the right, a photo of which I included in my post on Tokyo’s Fashion’s Night Out:

How hot is this label? Susie Bubble has worn it, Madamoiselle Yulia has worn it (see above), Katy Perry, Anna Dello Rosso, Bjork, Park Bom..the list goes on. Check out their facebook page for updates, or the “As worn by” section of their website.

Lady Gaga wore these glasses by Linda Farrow, now available at KTZ:

There’s also an unusual range of platform wedges (again, with that retina-searing yellow/pink/purple combo):

Statement dresses are another staple: 

One of my faves, that I’ve giving SERIOUS thought to buying, is the Priss Pink Flower Bomber jacket with hood. There’s polka dots, always a quirky plus for me, but also these brilliant oriental floral sleeves and fab contrast V shaped inserts and lapels. I care not that it’s a hoodie; I just love the contrast between the floral and the spots.

The latest range has a number of beautifully embossed leather dresses, gold motifs, and medieval fleur-de-lys motifs and crowns, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more!

Final Episode

So, sometimes I’m a wee bit slow. I’ve just discovered this fantastic website that launched in September, and I’m drooling.

It’s called “Final Episode” and it showcases the work of accessories designers who are extremely innnovative and fashion forward – think Camilla Skovgaard, Dries Van Noten, Opening Ceremony, Jeremy Scott and more.

I love their attitude: “fashion is a tool to flaunt one’s individuality and express one’s sense of self”. Hear, hear! It MUST be hip and happening – Grazia put it on their list of things “Going Up” last week, right next to the pic of Alexa Chung. I likewise appreciate their ethics: “Here at Final Episode, we believe everyone should make an effort to reduce their environmental impact. Wherever possible, our paper and packaging items are sourced from recycled materials”.

But enough theorising; onto the products themselves.

My unrequited love for extreme platforms and studs finds an object to lust over in these “Samantha” shoes by Tristan Blair:

 

Although there are some beauties by Camilla Skovgaard that are also tempting.

Then there are the improbable but loveable shaped sunnies from Alexander Wang and Jeremy Scott (alas, now sold out):

 

Those of a dark and gothic persuasion will adore the jewellery, and especially that of Julia DeVille in her Disce More range, where bird skulls, talons and crossed bones feature..

 

 

There are a whole lot more quirky accessories, including belts, scarves and bags, so it is well worth a look. If you sign up to Final Episode, you get access to special offers, releases and product launches too. For any enquiries, email: info@finalepisode.com.au

Or you can follow Final Episode on Facebook or on twitter.