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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

[Dolly Kei, Fashion, Event] Mamy Presents "Konya tonikaku Kaimono Shimashou" last Saturday at the Tump Room

Grimoire, The Virgin Mary, Tarock, Rosy Baroque, Nude Trump, Spank, Nicompoop, Dog And Many other shops were last Saturday at the Trump Room for a special evening sales event, presented by Mamy (one of the Fruits photographers), "Konya Tonikaku Kaimono Shimashou" ("Tonight anyway let's shop"). Between Harajuku kids and Shibuya new tribes, the Trump Room has seen its narrow halls fill in with a crowd on the edge of inventiveness and bizarre, a mob of toddlers - 23 years old for the eldest - a sort of a festive reunion with a University or College party hints taking place in a worthy Kubrick movie set. Our little world has struggled to take its bearings and atmosphere to relax. However, our eyes were dazzled with spooky creativeness.

A flood of rococo and looks deliciously… decadent!

When a horde of fashioners, so young that they don’t really let go and party, and whose some are not yet old enough to drink alcohol - which has the extreme disadvantage of increasing the price of the drink for those old enough to get drunk - the decadence certainly doesn’t find itself in the festive atmosphere of a supposed party! However, it was up to the look of our guests, as for most of them were shop sellers, buyers of all kinds of vintages, or university students at the Mode Gakuen or Bunka Fukusou Gakuen in West Shinjuku (1). We could admire this evening many girls followers of what is commonly called Dolly Kei, and in the details, what Ari (The Virgin Mary, formerly Cult Party) called herself the Cult Party Kei – meaning that the fashion to which belong Ari and her fellows finally doesn’t belong to any group - as well as new tribes from New Generation Fashion Punk, Fairy Kei, and New Rave.

Therefore, miscellanies seemed daring to the layman. The super vintage looks, if not antique, through using considerably faded clothing and hats which seemed to have lost their shape, courted punk accessories in the shape of spikes chokers, skulls, kind of neo-gothic accessories (such as key chains holders in the shape of transparent body of pregnant woman in translucent plastic filled with water in which floated a small pink plastic fetus), garish basketball player tank tops and Yakuza tattoos printed T-shirts, Yankee (2) outfits, grandmothers shawls and wrinkled kimonos. A new Tokyo with hyper-globalized influences led by expert hands of Japanese only (or almost). The decadence is visible but it is delicious!

Brands, vintage and young Japanese fashioners

If the 2010’s young Japanese generations are just as inventive as those of the 90s, continuing to take over European fashion codes to transpose them into a neo Nippon style (or rather Tokyoite style), however, that generation seems less willing to appropriate one design to reinterpret it, restructure it to give it a new and modernize style – as Gothic Lolita and Japanese Gothics have been able to do so. No, the new generation will put up with western vintages which some are quite outdated. Put up? No, we’d rather say that the Japanese new generation of fashioners loves them. Because here, only the accessories – perhaps! - are original creations. However, if they get dressed up with clothes from the past, they surely reinvent how to wear them, giving rise to a new silhouette.

But what has moved these young Japanese kids to turn to vintage? There are several lines of inquiry. The first and most obvious is that habit that the young Japanese generation wants to possess unique items, or at least rare. Number of Japanese brands (fur fur, Unrully, Chantilly) indeed produce in small quantity because their customers don’t want to look like their neighbor. Then comes the idea to invent through fashion, the possession of old clothes, a kind of a past that they never had, a past that doesn’t belong to this Japanese young generation, neither to their oldest. Thus, one traces a history of fashion – even by selling children's clothes for collectors – when in Japan were almost only existed kimono and uniforms. By pulling up clothing from the past, it is indeed also pulling up a small part of history. But that's not all. We know that the Japanese fashion consumer is a "brand buyer”. Indeed, he pays much attention to the brand, and generally remains attached to some brands in particular (this choice will be decisive in his general silhouette). However, buying certain brands categories comes within two challenges. The first one is the cost. The second challenge is more complex and belongs to a certain timidity of the Japanese in general, of the young Japanese in particular. In a kind of inferiority complex, a part of these Japanese young fashion addicts, even when they have the means, dare not entering the shops of prestige brands. Therefore, it becomes easier for them to get brands designed clothes in old vintage stores, even if the design is out dated of more than 20 or 30 years, and seem way off. But it is precisely in this gap that the shabby old clothes found a second youth, if not doing an ontogeny.

Japanese teens love Japanese Pop

In the din and bustle who ruled last Saturday at the Trump Room, boys striving to talk to girls, the latter not lending an ear to their 20 years old wild imaginings, too absorbed in their research for the unique item, you shouldn’t necessarily have been an observer to notice something indeed Japanese. Japanese teens love Japanese pop! We’re not talking here of an ultra-merchandised pop like Koda Kumi, Ayumi Hamasaki, Arashi or AKB48, no! But this pop with hippie accents from the 70’s-80’s, that their parents used to listen to and reassure them that, despite their many whims, they are still Japanese. Good Japanese pop music like we would hear more often. For it is onto this sound, a DJ playing the karaoke master of ceremony, that the crowd has finally taken its bearings and relax, taking away the atmosphere of china dogs of the early evening to make room for some laughter.

Author & Pictures: Valerie Fujita

(1) The Mode Gakuen (located in the new Cocoon Tower) and the Bunka Fashion Gakuen are the two most important fashion universities in Japan. The Mode Gakuen also have campus is Osaka, Nagoya and a campus in Paris, Creapole.
(2) Yankee: sort of hooligan dressed up in sailor uniform (seifuku). Yankees like to rearrange the seifuku by wearing too large shirts and skirts, remove the ribbon, using brightly colored variants of the seifuku.

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