Rooms has Street Style

On a rainy spring day, JAPANESE STREETS’ Pippa Griffiths and Jennifer Pierce took the elevator to the 40th floor of the swanky Roppongi Hills Tower to take a peek at international and home-spun talent.

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Rooms is a trade show which is a little different from most. It allows green, uninitiated talent to show their fresh-out-of-college work. But its primary objective is to open the gates to new international brands and showcase young Japanese labels to an international audience.

A bit special. And at JAPANESE STREETS we like special.

Two themes were starkly obvious at the 14th edition of Rooms: decadence and the natural world. The natural theme was especially reflected in the collections of Ecomaco, Yokang, Hisui, Shinda Tatsuya, Tranando and Artesano Alma. While decadence was apparent in Hio, Alexandre Herchcovitch, Tango, PYT, Monari Ono, Ninita and Camims.

Our favorites:

Drawing on Seventies geo-patterns, vintage, Victorian and hip-hop influences, the color prints and juxtaposition of influences stood out amongst a mirage of brands for its streetescque uniqueness and beautiful detailing. The collection comprised of mint geometric print dresses with a bib-front and puffed sleeves, teamed with printed Wellington boots and cutely printed and cropped hooded sweat–tops with knitted rib detailing.

The range was accessorized with overly large diamond rings, large cut stones pendants and crown charm necklaces and huge purse-style handbags with chain straps.

Uniquely, the brand sources fabric from abroad, commissions new fabric and designs and prints its own fabric.

Ninita opened a store in Laforet, Harajuku on the 22nd of February.

Monari Ono
This monochromatic collection is definitively feminine and screams sexiness. The collection features cropped shorts with shirt cuff details, drainpipe trousers with lace inserts, full net skirts with a polka-dot mesh over-skirt, strapless shift dresses frilled and flounced with French-maid-like detailing and fluted flock-style swing jackets teamed with cut and sew crisp white shirts with dress shirt details and military influences.

Flirty butterflies crop-up throughout the collection on the printed panels of dresses and trousers and as large enamel broaches.

Designer Ono says that his inspiration for his collections was born from “the sensuality of the female form, Gaultier and Gothic Romanticism.” References to the gothic trend are quite apparent, from the lavish use of high necklines, lace and playfulness with frills to the use of color and fabric selection. One uses, for example, sensual tulle and soft meshes and crisp cotton shirting.

Ono’s Japanese roots and European schooling are immediately apparent. The collection is intensely detailed and meticulous and very Japanese in that sense, but it also has a European quality in the figure-hugging silhouettes.

Arlene Guerra is the designer behind Pretty Young Thing and behind a collection of exquisite and fun vintage jewelry. From the feather combs to the bow necklaces, you can see that the collection is inspired by all the things Arlene loved as a child – keepsakes, her mother’s jewels, sewing basket buttons, feathers and ready-made appliqués. Each piece is carefully crafted with humor and grown-up sophistication in mind.

Owning and pampering a dog is becoming more popular than parenthood, and they are the hottest fashion accessory in Tokyo. Doggy fashion doesn’t get more decadent than this! Camims provides pampered Tokyo pooches with the poshest clothes and dog interior accessories around. From the finely crafted flocks with frills and cute bows to the jewel encrusted doggy bowls and the chandelier doggy bed, Camims is where doggies truly have style.

Shinda Tatsuya
This collection had a truly organic feel to it. Inspired by “the little things in daily life,” it takes color such as bright sulphur yellow, electric blue and chocolate brown, and fabric such as jersey, tweed and felt, and displaces them to achieve unique combinations like asymmetric paneled tunics, patchwork bikers jackets and floor-length, checker-broad wraps, fine-gauge scarves and bubble skirts. The collection also featured a notable washed felt jacket with lining and pockets spilling-out from inside – yummy!

In contrast to this funky range, Tatsuya juxtaposes it with a cooler, more tempered and sophisticated capsule collection of jersey separates and dresses, trench–styled jackets, mesh-knit scarves, velvet cropped jackets in plush sophisticated puce, grey, black and cream and accented with silver.

Yokang are an Okinawa based fashion brand specializing in spray printing techniques. The range had a real natural feel to it with Chenille wraps and floor-length skinny knits and fantastic Converse, printed with dragons and tigers. The collection offered a funky feminine edge with spangly feather-print tie-shoulder dresses, Aztec-style waistband demin skirts and printed fine-gauge draped sweater-dresses with delicate lilies and swirling feathers and clouds.

Alexandre Herchcovitch
Jewish, Brazilian born designer Alexandre has a real eye for color and irony. His unisex collection at Rooms 14 fused themes of space, religious influences, Eskimos and birds as strong graphic tees and shirts and teamed them with technically innovative denim in quirky cuts.

His collaboration with London based designer Judy Blame inspired reverse print skull and crown motif hoods and sweats, with comical pocket and cut detailing.

The range was accessorized with funky Converse and Vans customized with Herchcovitch flare.

A new store is just about to open in Daikanyama. Simply called “Herchcovitch”, it will be run by his friend and passionate advocate, Thiago. The address is 25-8 Sarugaku-cho, Daikanyama, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.

Una Artesano Alma
Husband and wife team Una Artesano Alama come from an established background in knit design and manufacture. This dynamic team–Kyoko designs the silhouette and Masaki designs the textiles–presented a collection of World-sourced yarns in natural flavors. “The inspiration for the collection is the organic forms found in nature,” Kyoko explained. “Yarns featured in this collection include mohair and cashmere. We find that high quality yarns such as these, allow the designers to achieve beautifully fine knits. So fine, they are transparent!”

Indeed the collection played with fuzzy textures, felting, yarn, and chiffon and lace appliqué and transparent and stripe knitting to create uniquely decorated scarves, hats, sweaters and cardigans.

Date presented a fun collection of felt cloth hats and suede cowboy inspired skirts. This collection felt young, fresh and beautifully feminine with craftily, stitched flower, cactus and desert motifs. Date also showed a fun range of faux fur trilby and loud-colored short brimmed hats in brushed felt.

Em Design
Ringed by a set of wooden dummies this creative jewelry brand showed a range of quirky and original jewelry which included squirrel gem-stone rings, large multi-band rings with tires of silver droplets, which cascaded over the knuckle and fingers and hoop earrings with birds or cute characters sitting on the base of the silver loop.

A footnote…
Throughout our interviews with designers and representatives of brands, and as we journeyed through the maze of stands, the use of birds as either an inspiration or motif kept cropping up. Maybe it displays a desire for peace in troubled times?

Recent articles by Pippa Griffiths:

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