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16 posts from June 2009

June 28, 2009

MANIACAL ABOUT MANIAC

During our short day in LA, my mom and I discovered a japanese line we had never heard about at Maxfields-we pried the sales associates to tell us about it, but no one seemed to know much. They had only a very small selection. We first fell in love with the cropped bell-bottom frayed jeans we both bought-their tags said 'LGB'. 
Later we found the most breathtaking leather jacket tucked away in the back of the store: layers of beautifully distressed leather, exagerated sleeves & assymetric cut, tiny little skull buttons....and an arrangment of peacock feathers going down the lapel. Very rock & roll but at the same time completely ethereal. We were told that this jacket was made under a label that was in the same group as LGB-that the group as a whole was called 'Maniac'.
My mom and I totally flipped out over that jacket...it was hard to leave the store without it. But I told myself that I would make it my mission to find out more about 'Maniac' and 'LGB' when we were in Tokyo.

Easier said than done-Maniac's amazing stores are unknown to even some of the most shop-savvy Tokyoites. They don't advertise and they don't allow their clothing to be photographed for magazines. It took some snooping-had to find out what the hell 'LGB' stood for (Le Grand Bleu as it turns out) and I got a little confused by the three store locations when I finally DID manage to find out where/what they were.

So if I have understood correctly, the 'Maniac Corporation' consists of their two lines: Le Grand Bleu (LGB) and If Six Was Nine. The lines are extremely similar, but LGB focuses mainly on denim. If Six Was Nine is all amazing rock n roll pieces-menswear and womenswear. 

The three stores that the Maniac corp owns are Bedrock in Omotesando Hills, Le Grand Bleu in Azabudai, and Circus in Daikanyama.

All of the stores are very different. I can't even begin to describe to you how amazing the stores themselves are. I wish I could take pictures but it is strictly foridden in all of their stores.
Bedrock is probably the most impressive: to get to Bedrock, you have to go through a little backdoor in a cafe in Omotesando hills. That cafe would be the Forbidden Fruit cafe, which has great vegetarian curry by the way.
Bedrock is competely out of this world-without a doubt the most memorable shopping experience I have ever had. It's like you've left Tokyo and stepped into the world's coolest post-apocolyptic fall-out shelter. It's worth the trip just to see the store itself. There is an amazing gigantic terrarium in the back of the store too.


This is the Forbidden Fruit Cafe-go down an ominous flight of stairs to enter Bedrock.


This is the sign outside of Le Grand Bleu-the storefront is a great cafe.


Side door


The food there is *really* tasty.

Like I said, the stores themselves transcend verbal description. The only thing I can tell you is that if you're ever in Tokyo, you HAVE to go. 

In addition to LGB and If Six Was Nine, their stores carry Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, Givenchy, Lanvin, and John Galliano to name a few. 
These big-name labels paled in comparison to what Maniac had to offer.
My mom and I decided that while we are in Tokyo, we only want to shop at Maniac's stores-the pieces we've purchased are now our favorite things in our closets.

I'll just shut the fuck up about how much I love this label now!! Let me show you a couple of the things I've come away with.


Wearing a raw silk charcoal caridgan by LGB, wax coated python-embosses tie-dye pants by If Six Was Nine, double layered tank top by LGB, Martin Margiela python clutch, Martin Margiela wooden clogs, and Yohji Yamamoto hat.

 

 


 


Here is what my mom wore yesterday.


The LGB bondage pouch pants-this is a men's pant.


Worn with vintage sequin jacket, Stella Mccartney mesh sandals, Ralph Lauren belt, Topshop tee


These are men's tie-dyed jeans. Mom is wearing them with a vintage jacket, vintage belt, and stella Mccartney mesh sandals.

I got this one-sleeved cream leather jacket for myself. 



If Six Was Nine leather jacket worn with LGB bondage pouch pants (mine are womens jeans), LGB double layered tank, and Givenchy cowboy booties.




I have more Maniac things to show you-I think mom and I are going to run over their today to pick up some pieces for her.

Please do visit their website-they have some pictures of some of their collection but they don't do them justice at all, in my humble opinion. 

I am so happy that I've come back from Tokyo with something that I truly love and am totally excited about-finding out about LGB and If Six Was Nine made this whole trip very special. 
I would love to find out more about this somewhat mysterious label-the language barrier has made it difficult to ask the sales associates questions, but I do know *who* the designer is. He was eating lunch in the cafe the first time we visited. I'll try to find out more info before I leave!

June 25, 2009

TOKYO UPDATE

I've been having a blast here in Tokyo, but probably my favorite thing to do is to slum around Omotesando taking people's pictures. It's very relaxing. Sadly my pictures don't always turn out well because of the high-speed traffic in this area-it's hard to stop and ask for photos. But I like the candid-ness of these shots. Be sure to check out my mom's blog for her shots too!





Here is my mom, people-watching & ready to snap.

 




I had to stop and ask this guy for a picture-doesn't he look incredible? What an amazing face too!

 

From behind.

 

The dogs here are soooo cute. This morning I saw a poodle with a heart shaved onto its back, and a Mickey-Mouse head shaved onto its hip. True story. Didn't have my camera though :(
I miss my dogs at home so much.





 

  

This was the cutest couple in the world...I snapped a picture of the woman, she was so beautiful.




Speaking of beautiful...LOL..this is Kohta, our waiter at Anniversarie Cafe. Kohta told us he got his nice tan from surfing in Chiba.  I think my mom actually told Kohta that he was the cutest waiter in the world. Like, those were her exact words. Dios mio. 




This is a picture my mom took from the first wedding we saw at Anniversarie Cafe. The first time we went to Anniversarie Cafe, we didn't know that they held weddings there. It was a big surprise when suddenly a huge wedding party filled the outdoor cafe and a beautiful bride and groom walked right past us. Brought a tear or two (okay, or 30...) to our eyes. 

Some people asked how my hair extensions went....well, I kind of chickened out. I was sitting in the salon waiting for my appointment, and I was checking out all the chicks around me getting these long weaves put in, and then I realized that I wouldn't be able to throw my hair in a sloppy bun without my weave showing. Um, no thanks!! I think when I do crazy hair color, I'm just gonna die a big chunk pink. For the time being, I just got the ends of my hair bleached out. It's not a super noticeable change.

 
There is a really pretty garden next to our hotel. Very peaceful.

 

Wearing Henrik Vibskov Dress & LGB pants, with a Margiela clutch (borrowing from mom) & Stella Mccartney mesh sandals.


I'm off to find some dinner...I haven't been very adventurous with the food here...I know I'm missing out, but it is a little bit more difficult when you are vegetarian, though I know there are so many delicious veggie dishes out there. I'll try to scout some out tonight.

Thank you to the people who have left such nice comments during this trip, I really appreciate your support!
I'll try to get to my email sometime soon, sorry for the delayed correspondence.
xo Jane



June 24, 2009

JUN TAKAHASHI'S GRACES

Show Window Shinjuku Isetan

I've been looking forward to visiting the Undercover store here in Tokyo for a long time and checking out the Graces exhibition...I got to go a few days ago and I'm so glad I did. I wish I had been able to take pictures in the store.

Anyone who follows Undercover or Jun Takahashi is familiar with the Graces by now. Doll-making is an avid hobby of Takahashi's now  for many years. They appeared prominently in the Spring 09 collection...

"This season Takahashi notes that he was inspired by white, fluffy creatures with luminous eyes called "Graces." These creatures, invented by Takahashi, keep their distance from humans. A secret organization called Gila, he says, has succeeded in breeding and protecting the Graces. Gila also has played a crucial role in fostering a relationship between both the Graces and the human species.  To illustrate this notion, Takahashi made dolls (which looked somewhat like a cross between an alien and a monkey with luminous eyes and a light on the tip of their tails), which rested on the shoulders of a few of the mannequins that were set-up in the center of the gallery space."

I have been entranced by these creatures ever since I first saw them...you can't exactly tell if the Graces are peaceful or hostile beings. In some of the photos taken by Katsuhide Morimoto for the Spring 09 collection, humans and Graces exist in peace (a picture of a young girl gazing peacefully at a miniature Grace in what looks like an open-air terrarium) and in some contexts the Graces are monstrous (an image of creatures atop a building shooting beams of light from their lamp-heads at a crowd of terrorized humans below)

These are not my own pictures, so thank you to a few kind people from Flickr who have shared images of the Graces in the various exhibits and windows they have appeared in.

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Unfortunately I couldn't show all of the photos that I saw in the Undercover store, but if you're in town soon it is definitely worth a look.

Here are some pictures of the Graces in some other exhibitions.

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Sometimes Jun Takahashi does live presentations of the doll-making.

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Here are some of the beautiful images of the Graces from the issue of A Magazine that Jun Takahashi curated.

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I've heard there was an animated film made with the Graces. I'd love to see it some day!

June 23, 2009

J. Aldridge by Sea of Shoes for Urban Outfitters.

Hi guys, I'm excited to announce the launch of a capsule collection I did for Urban Outfitters. I'm so grateful to have been given the chance to design what I love (shoes!) and it has been a pleasure to work with UO.



Here is the snippet from the press release.

"Jane Aldridge may be just 17 years old, but the Dallas-based fashion blogger has an impressive global following on her personal style blog, Sea of Shoes. "Ever since I've reached my full shoe size I've been fanatical about collecting shoes," says Aldridge. "That's how my blog got started, as a means of chronicling my addiction to beautiful footwear and the evolution of my personal style," she adds. 

The magnetic Texas teen has to wear a school uniform five days a week with a one and a half inch heel rule, but outside of class, flats are the last thing you'll see her wearing. From YSL cage heels and Chanel bow-tie booties to Margiela clogs, Aldridge pairs her favored heels with equally envied outfits. And now, she has found another creative outlet for her passion; designing shoes herself, with the help of Urban Outfitters.

Launching next month, J. Aldridge by Sea of Shoes is a capsule collection of three styles, exclusive to Urban Outfitters. Dramatic knee-high brown leather peep-toe boots feature top-stitched detailing and lacing at the front, black gladiator heels with studs and twin buckle straps, and lace-up, pointy skimmers. "I'm really excited to bring my designs to Urban Outfitters," says Aldridge. "The inspiration for this collection is a mish-mash of some of the elements of my favorite pairs—sort of Victoriana meets gladiator warrior."

Can't wait to get home and try them on!

June 22, 2009

HAIRCUT AT UPSY DAISY

So yesterday I mentioned that my mom had scheduled an appointment for a haircut at a funky hair salon. Thinking it would be an interesting experience to document, I packed my D3 and tagged along. I didn't know what to expect but my mom described the vibe of the salon as 'bohemian hippie grunge'. I dressed somewhat accordingly...

  
Vintage patchwork leather jacket, stripe tee from Urban Outiftters, Hysteric Glamour jeans, Martin Margiela clogs, Martin Margiela python clutch, vintage belt from my mom's old boutique, and my elephant necklace.


Upsy Daisy was tucked away in a semi-underground nook off of Omotesando, just a short distance from the Chanel and Martin Marigela boutiques.


The clientele there made for VERY intersting people watching! Loved this girl's short shorts with shearling cuffs and super-slashed tee.
 


They had a pretty fish tank outside the door.



Some of the extensions hanging on the walls-pretttttyyy, so much texture.




I think the little room in the back was a makeup station. I totally want to get my makeup done there!





 


My mom has told me that Japanese hair stylists cut your hair in a very different way than they do in the US so I was kind of curious to watch the process.


The end result! 

Maybe it was the hair-dye fumes, but somehow when I was hanging out at Upsy Daisy, I got it in my mind that it would be a great idea to get some colorful extensions woven into my hair...I made the appointment for tomorrow afternoon.
I'll let you know how it goes! 
xo Jane

June 21, 2009

From the weekend


It rained all morning and most of the afternoon yesterday-here are some pictures taken around the hotel while we waited for the drizzle to subside.




I wore a pair of Comme des Garcons Homme Plus pants I picked up on Saturday- my mom and I both got a pair, haha. The store was incredible! I'll go back and next time I'll take pictures of the building.




Sipped some tea while I watched the rain come down.
The weather on Saturday was lovely...hoping to experience similar weather today!


I bet the Koi fish liked the rain.



Wondered around the streets of Harajuku.


 

Lots of cute guys like this one hanging  around. he looked pretty confused/kinda pissed when I asked if I could take his picture. Sorry, guy :(




Does he look familiar?? ;) Ran into him again!
On Saturday I ran into my friend Amit and we did some shopping together. Super fun. 

 

Outside one of the CDG stores and Undercover 


I love this elephant necklace! I got it just before I came to Tokyo.

So many people have asked what camera I'm using...I use a Nikon D300 and two 1.4 lenses.

My mom has a hair appointment at a very funky salon soon-I'm going to tag along and take some pictures. See you soon.
xo Jane


June 19, 2009

SHOOTING AROUND OMOTESANDO

I was happy to spend my first day in Tokyo hanging out on Omotesando snapping some pictures of the stylish passer-bys.

While waiting for the then empty streets to fill up, mom and I had breakfast at Andersen's, a Danish restaurunt my mom has been frequenting since she moved here in 1982.

It was delicious.

  

It wasn't long before Omotesando became a sea of people....

 

A shady nook next to a convenience store is apparently a watering hole for Omotesando's steeziest...they were all just parked here, silently begging to have their photographs taken! 

 

 

  

 

 

 

It was funny, as my mom and I were snapping along Omotesando, there must have been at least 5 people who came by hauling big piles of twigs. I wonder what they were for!

It wasn't long before my mom and I were exhausted...stopped to give our feet a rest.

(My Martin Marigela cowboy boots)

(Mom's Ann Demeulemeester sandals)

I guess it was the long flight...or maybe we really are just huge wimps...but we headed back to hotel very early to get some sleep.
We're all rested up today and ready to hit the streets again....expect more posts like this soon.

first stop in tokyo-ADVENTURES IN KIDDYLAND

If there is one thing my mom and I love more than shoes, it would be toys.
Tokyo's famous 'Kiddy Land' store was the first stop we made on our first day in Tokyo.



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We were having a great time until mom saw Pleo.
It was love at first sight...and sadly it was a doomed love, because unfortunately his size and price tag meant that Pleo couldn't come back to Texas with us.


Mom shared a tearful goodbye with Pleo before we left in search of lunch.

Kiddy Land was amazing, Pleo or not!! It wasn't our first trip to Kiddy Land and it won't be our last...gotta go back and get more Totoro toys.

Jane

Sea of Shoes is the personal style blog of Jane Aldridge.

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