Japanese fashion conjures up images of avant-garde creations by Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake, and Yohji Yamamoto: dark-as-night dresses, trousers, and jackets with holes, pleats, and buttons in unexpected places; plus the street style of Harajuku Lolitas, biker-chic delinquents, and everything in between. “Japan Fashion Now” (Sept. 17–Jan. 8; fitnyc.edu), opening this month at New York City’s Museum at FIT, surveys the work of those designers and explores the next generation. This show gives people a sense of the diversity and creativity of Japanese fashion and its global influence, says FIT curator Valerie Steele. —Leslie Camhi
Valerie Steele’s Favorite Stylish Tokyo Haunts
F.I.L. Tokyo: “Perfect interpretations of American classics—blue jeans, moccasins, sandals—with a Japanese twist. How can you covet moccasins? Here, you do.”
Dog: “A mishmash of vintage designers including Thierry Mugler and unknown labels. I bought a pony-skin handbag with long, black, hairy trim by Who What?”
H. Naoto Laforet Harajuku: “The best goth-punk ensembles for Harajuku Lolitas.” —Lynn Yaeger
h.NAOTO Laforet Harajuku
Don't miss this sprawling mall known for cutting-edge Japanese labels.
F.I.L (shorthand for Free International Laboratory) is the boutique of Berlin-based, Japanese fashion designer Hiroki Nakamura and his visvim clothing, a high-concept line focused on creating the opposite of disposable fashion. Nakamura gathers inspiration from diverse sources, ranging from folk garments to hip-hop style. He sources his all-natural materials from high-quality suppliers. The F.I.L store in Shinbuya is a minimalist space reached by going down a flight of stairs from street level. There are no signs and the space itself looks more like a gallery than a store, with each product artfully staged.
Hidden away in the basement of an office bulding on the fringes of Harajuku, Dog is a literally an underground fashion spot, a hodge-podge of low-cost and designer vintage pieces (some imported from the US) and original designs by store owner Kai Satake, who takes cast-off clothing and reworks it into something completely original. Lady Gaga shops here and has worn some of Satake's work in photo shoots, but the designer aims to keep the store affordable for Harajuku's young crowd as well. The entrance is marked by an impossible-to-miss mannequin and grafitti tags by the door.