>> I thought it would make sense to segue in from Shibuya 109 over to Harajuku's Dog as it continues to be all things Tokyo around here. I've still got plenty of the shows to write about but of course, so much of what's brilliant about Tokyo's fashion scene isn't to be found in a sponsor-ridden fashion show venue but walking around on the streets. It's the style maven characters that you meet who leave the lasting impression. In Tokyo, it's interesting that out of the blue, "normal" girls like shop girls and students, can break through and become veritable style icons on the back of… well, their style, as opposed to well-oiled PR machines, in-the-know connections and behind-the-scenes stylists. They become almost like recognisable characters on the streets, signifying and representing the constantly shifting style oeuvres of Tokyo and in particular in Harajuku, these local style figures are rife. Hirari Ikeda is one such character. I was completely in awe of her presence when we met at her workplace, the Harajuku fashion institution, Dog. Her Tumblr page is exemplary of the way Hirari likes to teeter on the very very edge of a sharp precipice in fashion. She goes for it in a way that has little to do with the well-mannered ya-yas of high fashion and everything to do with her own specific tastes.
Dog may well have been the perfect breeding spot for her to express her style as this now infamous store still gets the visual adrenaline pumping as soon as you descend the graffitied staircase. I love Dog's second outpost in the equally famed Kita Kore building in in Koenji but given the size of the orignal store in Harajuku, there's definitely more to get your teeth into here with the pile-ups of Versace vintage, customised denim and leather pieces, heavy-soled trainers and bling-rave jewellery. Maybe it's the fact that I only get to go once or twice a year on my trips to Tokyo but I love how I find a different niche to rifle through on every visit – this time it was deadstock motocross trousers and local label patchwork No Jeans! knitwear. Even if you're not completely down with the aesthetic, a simple comb through the racks is inspirational fodder for the brain. You can't help but commend the tireless dedication to their specific aesthetic, especially when you walk into the store and find three of the shop staff croching over a vintage shirt, examining it as though it were a maths equation and ready to attack it with studs and who knows what else.
My makeover fairy Natsumi and Hirari colliding Shibuya and Harajuku style together for Nicola Formichetti's Pop Icon Project at an impromptu shoot in front of Parco on Saturday night.