Japan Woos Visitors with a ‘Welcome to Japan’ Bra

The mere mention of Japan sends my mind a flutter. It makes me think about movies like Kill Bill and The Cove. I think about cartoon porn. I think about weird gadgets and remote-control toilets. Oddly, the last thing I think about is my actual visit to the country. Blame it on the speed-shopping during my short, three-day visit to Tokyo. You can’t hate. The city is, after all, the fashion capital of Asia. Everyone knows this, including Triumph, a Tokyo-based lingerie maker that recently unveiled a “Welcome to Japan” bra to help boost tourism. There are even buttons on the undergarment which, when pushed, play messages that say “Welcome to Japan!” in English, Korean, and Chinese. From everything I know about the country, and all the crazy fashions I saw, I’m not the least bit surprised.

In addition to the bra, Triumph created a matching skirt that flips up to reveal a map of Japan. Sadly, ladies, the bra and skirt are not for sale. They are concept designs to woo visitors.

Triumph is famous for thinking outside the box. Previous company efforts have included a solar-powered bra and a rice-growing bra, which came with two plant pots, soil, and seedlings. Again, baffled but not surprised.

Trend Report: Feathered Caps, Cherry Print Dresses, Peep-toe Cowboy Boots

London – Feathered Caps: Fusing the commonplace with the unexpected, the catwalk inspires high-street: A contemporary update on the burlesque ideal, feathered caps capture the exuberance of the circus. Givenchy’s visor is complete with oversized feathers; Miss Selfridge’s features an explosion of ostrich feathers. Pearl and sequin embellishments add an appropriate decadence, recalling the excess of the 1920’s.

image Tokyo/London – Cherry Print Dress: Retro cherry prints are bursting and sugary sweet, adorning silk halterneck dresses at Moschino and flared mini-dresses at John Galliano. Paired with leopard print sleeves and edging, the aesthetic is fabulously OTT, and inspired by the statement-makers of Studio 54. Stand out from the crowd in cherry print and be good enough to eat.

image Tokyo/London – Peep-toe Cowboy Boots: The practical cowboy boot is reinterpreted with cues from this summer’s staple shoe, the clog. Chunky platforms, stacked heels, and wooden soles borrow from Sweden’s finest, while tan leather uppers featuring intricate tooled leather details take from the Wild West. Peep-toe or sling-back details render the hybrid style suitable for summer attire.

Oscar-Winning ‘The Cove’ Doc Won’t Play in Tokyo

The first two Japanese cinemas scheduled to show Oscar-winning documentary The Cove have canceled their plans under pressure from right wing protest groups. The film depicts the hunting of dolphins in the Japanese fishing town of Taiji. While it drew critical claim and wide support from environmentalists and animal rights groups, some Taiji residents called it inaccurate and culturally ignorant. It was set to open at two theaters in Tokyo later this month, but after protesters lined up outside of the distribution company’s office and the house of its president, it now it looks like the controversial doc won’t play in the capital city at all.

“It’s unfortunate that a few extremists scared one of the Tokyo venues from showing The Cove but I’m confident that the Japanese people will now be even more curious to know what these few people are trying so hard to hide. The extremists themselves are scared of the truth being known because what they are trying to hide cannot survive debate,” said the film’s director, Louie Psihoyos.

Like its Tokyo counterparts, Cinemart Shinsaibashi in Osaka has also canceled plans to screen the film. The film’s Japanese distributor, Unplugged, says it still plans to show the film elsewhere in Japan.

Jet Set Redux: Concorde Comeback to Return Snobbery to the Skies

The term jet set used to mean something. For two decades following the 1952 introduction of passenger jet service, it described a privileged sliver of the traveling public seen as superior to the unwashed masses because of their ability to jet off on frivolous trips to exotic locales once reachable only by road, rail, or steamship. But by the mid-1970’s, airline deregulation and cheap oil made jet travel available to everyone. Just like that, air-kissing poodle walkers on their way to the Côte d’Azur had to share the departure lounge with women in flowered housecoats and guys in sauce-stained wife beaters. The indignation at the interlopers was both righteous and palpable.

The homogeneity didn’t last long. The Concorde began service in 1976, shuttling members of the Lucky Sperm Club between financial capitals such as Paris, Tokyo, and New York, and ritzy playgrounds like Barbados at supersonic speeds. For a while it seemed like harmony was restored to the rich-guy world, as long as enough of them could afford ticket prices that routinely eclipsed the five-figure threshold. The jet set would live on for another 25 years. But simple economics—and a horrific crash in 2000 that had nothing to do with the Concorde’s airworthiness—brought an end to the party. In an age of relentless technological advancement, where everything is supposed get exponentially faster, all the time, passenger air travel would actually slow down.

Hope returned to Richistan this week with news that a team of French and British engineers is working to restart the engines on a former Air France Concorde, with the goal of getting it flying once again. The resumption of supersonic passenger air travel is still years away, but the announcement underscores the belief that—as brainy as our science guys are, and as rich as our rich guys are—it’s messed up that air speeds for commercial travel haven’t notably increased since the Brady Bunch era.

With the return of the Concorde (or the launch of its inevitable successor) will come the return of genuine envy—and corresponding feelings of smug superiority—in the airport. True, for now you can give the stink-eye to the investment banker staggering out of the private airport club, or think unkind thoughts as you wheel your roll-a-way down the aisle past preening first classers who already have cocktails and hot nuts, but you’re all arriving at your destination at the same time. Private jets aren’t much faster, and their separate terminals means there’s no audience of poor people to covet the perks.

Only a supersonic passenger plane will restore a class system to air travel based on something actually worth envying: speed. The rich will get there first, everyone else will arrive second, and we all know that “second place” is a polite way to say “first loser.” But this isn’t just good news for the wealthy. If the shame of slow flying becomes too much to bear, you’ve got a bright, shiny, delta-winged goal to chase as it disappears into the horizon, filled with beautiful people on their way to a party you can only imagine.

Trend Report: Kielty Tongue Clog, Tonal Multi Animal Shopper, Bustier Bra Denim

London: Kielty Tongue Clog – An indication of Chanel’s country hoedown aesthetic reaching street and store, classic clogs experience a return to fashion favor. In brown leather and suede, a chunky wooden sole anchors a leather rivet studded mule. Finished with a kielty tongue flourish, as seen on the Prada men’s and womenswear Fall/Winter 2010 catwalks, this rustic reminder covers two trends in one knee-slapping swoop.

image New York: Tonal Multi Animal Shopper – Offering an alternative take on animal print, the humble shopper is adorned with a Dada inspired animal photomontage. From Hussein Chalayan’s endangered animal digital print collage–all rhinoceros and tiger, lion and hippo–to a more homely, embroidered homage to felines on the street, make a feral statement with your hand luggage.

image Tokyo: Bustier Bra Denim – Capturing a balance between rude girl rebellion and fluid femininity, denim dungarees are finished with a bustier bra. Recalling Madonna’s halcyon days, Jean Paul Gaultier takes the pointed cup to the street when it is rendered in indigo wash denim. Contoured and defined by classic yellow stitching, dropped crotch and skirt interpretations emphasize an alternative take on both denim and underwear.

‘Skirt Tribes’ Surface in Tokyo

An unlikely trend is sweeping men’s wear in Japan. And Marc Jacobs, for one, would surely approve. Skirts of the tailored, Comme des Garcons variety–of which Jacobs has long been a fan–have been sprouting up on sidewalks across Tokyo. Styles “ranging from miniskirts worn over jeans to longer, figure-hugging varities worn with trainers or sandals – have become a regular sight in the Harajuku district of Tokyo,” (the city’s most fashion-forward enclave) says the Independent. In fact, a store called Cross Gender, which opened in February and hawks a variety of skirts for men, has reported impressive sales.

“‘Skirt boys’ make waves in wild world of Tokyo street fashion,” echoes another article from the Global Fashion Report. It seems there are so many men warming up to the trend that even DMV tellers have heard of the ‘skirt tribes’ surfacing around the city. And men adopting traditionally female fashions en masse isn’t relegated to Japan alone. Just a few weeks ago I caught Cathy Horyn making mention on Charlie Rose of how revolutionary she found all of the young men in Paris sporting elevated footwear a la Rick Owens. “In Paris, you see a lot of young guys who are wearing high heels, blocked heel shoes,” she said. How long it’ll take before the male masses in the states start adopting adrogynous styles, however, is anyone’s guess.

Trend Report: Dip Dyed Shirt, Denim Biker Jacket, Chiffon Biker

LA: Dip Dyed Shirt – Shifting with ease between male and female tailoring, dip dyed effects subvert classic styles for a summer feel. Transitioning from light to dark hues down gradients of shirts and tops, this look embodies the DIY mantra; disrupting the humble shirt with a bespoke effect that epitomizes summer.

image London: Denim Biker Jacket – As we welcome summer, and step away from winter warmers, denim invades the biker jacket and makes its way on to the high street. With a biker-inspired revamp, denim jackets sport zips and button detailing, and a classic biker shape. Team with denim shirts and jeans for an all over denim look that infiltrated the catwalk for SS 2010. It’s a toughening up for a wardrobe staple that marries the denim jacket with its fifties heritage. James Dean would approve.

image NY: Chiffon Biker – Life with summer interpretations, the biker jacket is hijacked by the post-grunge trend that dominates this season. Ruggedly feminine, the sheer properties are seductive yet tough, and delicate details are replaced with hardy zips and buttons. Wear casual and play with muted color schemes for a relaxed aesthetic that embodies the New York City vibe.

image Tokyo: Military Star Shirt – Stars of honor bedeck shirts to give a patriotic riff to menswear. Whether starry studs or embroidered detailing, they take a regimented formation on casual shirts, or as at Givenchy, for a rebellious streak to formal-wear. Style with an all-American frame of mind, button shirts to the collar and team with a versatile ideal, mixing and matching as you feel.

Tokyo Deploys Solar Bikes

Toyota, Smoyota. Sure, Japan might be having some little car issues of late, but they’re still proving their transportation technology is way ahead of the curve with a solar-powered city bike system. Sanyo has placed three Eneloop bike stations around Tokyo where bikers can borrow one of the super-cool electric bikes for a fee, ride it around, and then drop it off at a station, where they will charge via solar panels.Sure, other cities like Paris and Stockholm have lovely bike share programs, but leave it to the Japanese to make it electric.

Sanyo’s Eneloop series are hybrid pedal-assist bikes. Riders can choose to power the bike on their own via muscle action, or kick the bike into one of three assist modes — standard, power-up, or auto. Each of the three Eneloop stations in the Setagaya ward of Tokyo will have 100 bikes for riders to borrow. The station’s solar panels will not only provide power for charging the bikes, they’ll also power the LEDs that illuminate the station itself. One bummer though: those who have Eneloops of their own won’t be able to use the stations to recharge.

Ace Hotel Continues to Roll Out the Pop-Up Shops

Just three weeks ago Ace Hotel — the Portland-born, creatively cutting edge-hotel chain that has since expanded to New York and Palm Springs — was opening the doors of a Manhattan pop-up shop slated to carry a curated selection of clothing and artistic odds and ends. (Think Opening Ceremony wares and limited-edition sneakers.) Now comes word that hotelier Alex Calderwood’s brainchild is looking across the Atlantic, as far as Japan for yet another short-lived boutique. Just in time for the holidays, Ace Hotel and Japanese retailer Isetan Shinjuku are partnering on a pop-up shop to be housed in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.

Expect “collaborations with Pendleton Woolen Mills, artist Evan Hecox, Generic Man, Dean Markley, Fjallraven of Sweden, Mackintosh, Coto, Le Labo, Wings & Horns, Project No. 8, Pearl Plus, and many others. Products from Rudy’s Barbershops will also be available for the first time in Japan.” For a look around, Freshness Mag has quite a few twitpics of the store’s digs here. As for other Ace Hotel initiatives, I’m still eager to see the porn.