Tag Archives: Japan

Yohji Yamamoto at the V&A + dressing the bump accordingly

On a grey and rainy day like today there’s nothing better than cuddling up on the sofa with a cup of hot tea. But if you want to be a bit more active, you can always head for a fashion exhibition.

Even though I love (second-hand) clothes and shopping I tend to yawn and curl my lip in contempt when faced with catwalk shows, fashion weeks and the name-dropping of aaaaarrrhhhmazing designers.

It just bores me to death and I never learned to love the vacuous mingling and bitchy atmosphere of Copenhagen Fashion Week, when I worked as a fashion journalist.

But if there’s one designer that can get me up from the sofa it’s the ground-breaking Japanese Yohji Yamamoto. So last week I went to see the his exhibition at the V&A. It’s small but good.

Left-hand side is dedicated to a mannequin parade of some of his best designs, through the years. 9 out of 10 of his designs I would wear on the spot, and I was (almost) tempted to just tear a few dresses of the dolls and make a run for it 🙂

The right-hand side consists of a row of TV’s, showing Yohji Yamamoto’s catwalk shows  and videos about the controversial designer. Should you want to meet the designer himself, then I suggest you book a ticket for the talk on the 26th of June.

6 months pregnant or not, I felt I had to honour Mr. Yohji by wearing one of his designs to the exhibition. I only own two Yamamoto items: a skirt with a narrow waist (so that one was out of the question) and this dress:

So on it went. I had to leave the zipper half-open, but I still like the way it looks. If you want to see it in a non-pregnant state and read about where I bought it, click here.

I love how this last windblown picture reminds me of the poster from the exhibition. Noone does those avantgarde silhouettes quite like Yamamoto. They’re instantly recognisable.

Yohji Yamamoto at the V&A, until 10 july 2011.
Read more & book tickets

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Dressing the bump – Japanese polka dots

I had a dinner date with some friends in East London last week. And with all the young hipsters running around in that part of town old Mette kinda felt the pressure to retro-dress-up the bump a bit.

Looking in my closet the options were very limited, but then I remembered this dark blue polka dot dress with puff sleeves, which has a very high waist. I bought it ages ago in a second-hand shop in Japan for around 3 pounds.

But the big question was: could I squeeze the bump into it?

I could. So I chose to ignore the fact, that it’s made from 100% polyester and left for a lovely dinner at one of my favourite East London restaurants, Lennie’s Snack Bar.

Here I’m wearing it with a pair of studded ankle boots from Topshop to make it less dressy.

Muji – minimalist essentials you didn’t even know you needed

So, the third part of my high-street shopping trilogy (aka the day I went to Oxford street to buy winter boots and browse the stock at H&M) ended with a big shopping bang in Japanese chain Muji. They’re know for stocking well-produced and tasteful minimalist things with a quirky look.

Things you didn’t even know you wanted, like patchwork piglets, red acrylic reindeer and solar system magnets – or what about London in a box? Brilliant and perfect for presents.

What they also do really well is plastic storage units, picture frames, travel kits etc. I bought one of their refillable hand soap dispensers (£ 3.95) and some mint & cucumber soap (£ 3.50).

I also bought a mirror – great for travels and checking your hairdo in the bathroom (£ 7.50). And an acrylic picture frame (£ 6.95).

The frame was what I actually went in for. One of our friends is a talented photographer and he’d snapped a black and white photo of Sam and I on a boat cruise. It’s 15 by 15 cm and I couldn’t find a frame with those dimensions anywhere. So this clear acrylic frame is perfect, easy to assemble plus they  come in many different sizes.

Take a look a Muji’s website (they post orders to delivery locations within mainland Great Britain, the EU and mainland United States and Canada.)

Japanese fashion at the Barbican

I love clothes as a form of expression, as personal style and a way to portray your personality. I have a lot of fun playing with different outfits and love getting inspiration from people on the street.

But to be honest most things surrounding the concept “fashion”, and particularly fashion magazines, bore me to death. I really don’t need anyone to tell me what to wear, and their view of “the right taste” always seems to be restricted to the latest trends from a handful of approved designers. You can never stray too far away from the mainstream and somehow everyone ends up looking the same. Whenever I occasionally flick through a fashion magazine I always close it feeling slightly inferior because I don’t have this seasons “it” bag/coat/sunglasses/boots. It’s absurd, because you can never fully catch up with all the “must-haves”. And that way the wheels of consumerism keep on turning.

I just think there are so many things in life that are more important.

But I do have a big soft spot for Japanese fashion design with its focus on timelessness, structure and crazy form experiments. So I was very happy indeed when I saw a poster at Maida Vale tube stations informing me about a new exhibition at the Barbican. It’s called Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese Fashion and opens October 15.

The exhibition is the first exhibition in Europe to comprehensively survey avant-garde Japanese fashion, from the early 1980s to the present. I can’t wait to check it out and will let you know how it is.

What: Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese Fashion, 15 October 2010 – 6 February 2011
Where: Barbican Art Gallery

Osaka Aquarium

Photo: Mette Bassett

Ville bare lige vise jer nogle billeder fra det fine Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan i Japan, som vi besøgte tidligere på året. Jeg elsker den slags fiktive oaser, der giver et afbræk fra dagligdagen: zoologiske haver, biografer, museer, akvarier, forlystelsesparker og tivolier: bring it on!

Men det der først fik mig op ad stolen og overbeviste mig om, at her skulle vi da hen var denne sindssygt smukke video fra Okinawa Akvarium (se den med lyd!).

Da vi et par måneder senere befandt os i Japan havde min krøllede hjerne forvandlet Okinawa til Osaka. Men heldigvis har Osaka også et fabelagtigt akvarium. Akvariet ligger i et lidt øde og vindblæst havneområde helt ud til Osaka Bay, lige ved siden af Suntory Museet. Det er et af verdens største akvarier og et af de få, der har plads til de fascinerende og kæmpestore hvalhajer.

Læs mere på akvariets egen hjemmeside.

English: I just wanted to show you a few pictures from a place we visited earlier this year: the fabulous Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in Japan. I love these kind of imaginary spaces; aquariums, zoos, theme parks, museums and cinemas – they all offer a wonderful and fantasy filled break from reality.

I first got really excited about the Aquarium when I stumbled upon this incredible video from Okinawa Aquarium (watch it with sound!).

By the time we arrived in Japan my weird brain had turned Okinawa into Osaka and I only realised my mistake when we came back and I watched the video again. Because luckily there’s an amazing aquarium in Osaka as well. It’s located in a harbour area, just next to the big Suntory Museum. Kaiyukan is one of the world’s biggest aquariums and one of the few that’s home to the fascinating huge whale sharks.

Read more on Kaiyukan’s website.

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

Photo: Mette Bassett

My favourite second-hand shop in Tokyo – 10 Tow

Foto: Mette Bassett

10 Tow er en lille, men ikke mindre end fantastisk kommissions-genbrugsbutik midt i Shibuya shoppingdistriktet i Tokyo. Jeg spottede den første gang vi var i Japan, og denne gang var jeg forbi tre gange for at tjekke for nye varer. 10 Tow er helt anderledes kræsen og stilbevidst end de mange andre japanske re-sale butikker, som foretrækker at fylde glasmontrerne med (kedelige) klassikere fra Louis Vuitton, Hermès og Chanel.

Hos 10 Tow drejer det sig kun om avantgardistiske og eksperimenterende designere. Her er japanske darlings i form af Comme des Garcons, Tsumori Chisato, Yohji Yamamoto og Junya Watanabe, og selvfølgelig nogle af de bedste europæere: british/tyrkiske Hussein Chalayan, tyske Bernhard Wilhelm og belgiske Ann Demeuleemeester og Martin Margiela.

Butikken kan være svær at spotte, da den ligger på 4. sal på et hjørne i en  kedeligt udseende bygning lige over for stormagasinet Tokyu Hands (det er i øvrigt også værd at tjekke ud). Men hold øje med skiltet på gaden. Her er adressen: 4F Shibuya Udagawa Building. 11-6 Udagawa-Cho, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0042. Åben fra 12.00-20.30.

English: 10 Tow is an amazing designer resale/depot vente/consignment shop in the Shibuya shopping district in Tokyo. I spotted it the first time we were there and have been going back ever since.

This consignment shop is different from all the other “usual suspects”, who mainly deal with big traditional French brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès. 10 Tow wants none of that but take in clothes and accessories from experimental Japanese designers such as Comme des Garcons, Tsumori Chisato, Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe. Not to forget European avantgarde darlings in the shape of British/Turkish Hussein Chalayan, German Bernhard Wilhelm + Belgians Ann Demeuleemeester and Martin Margiela.

The shop is located on the 4th floor in a dull looking building on a corner just opposite the big department store Tokyu Hands (which by the way is worth checking out too) so look out for the sign in front of the building. The address is: 4F Shibuya Udagawa Building. 11-6 Udagawa-Cho, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0042. Open from 12.00-20.30.

Foto: Mette Bassett

Regn med at betale omkring 1/3 af nyprisen for varer, der ofte kun har været brugt en enkelt gang af den tidligere ejer, og som er i tip-top stand. Har du tænkt dig at komme igen, så bed om et loyalty card. Her får du et stempel, hver gang du bruger 3000 yen, og når det er fyldt, får du 10000 yen rabat. I like.

Første gang jeg var der, købte jeg et Comme des Garcons shoppenet til ca. 300 kr., anden gang endte jeg med disse to ting fra Yohji Yamamoto.

English: The prices in 10 Tow are quite amazing. Expect to pay around 1/3 of the original price for pieces that might never have been worn by their previous owner. Ask for a loyalty and you get a stamp every time you spend 3000 yen – when it’s full you’ll get a 10.000 yen discount.

First time I was there I found this Comme des Garcons shopping bag (35 pounds), second time I left with these Yohji Yamamoto goodies.

Foto: Mette Bassett

Thailand and Tokyo calling!

Mit soveværelse i går:

My bedroom yesterday evening:

Foto: Mette Bassett

Om 5 minutter tager vi til toget til Heathrow og videre til 3 ugers ferie Thailand, og så 3 uger i Japan. Så de næste 6 uger er bloggen omdannet til rejseblog 🙂

In 5 minutes we’ll be leaving for Heathrow. We’re going on a long holiday. 3 weeks in Thailand and 3 in Japan. So for the next 6 weeks this will be a travel blog 🙂

Foto: Mette Bassett