Tokyo Street Style: Midi-skirts

 

For those of us more timid about trying some of this season’s miniskirt variations, take a cue from these stylish Japanese women and opt for mid-length or midi-skirts. It’s a fairly laid-back trend compared to some of the more highly stylized genres within Japan’s modern street fashion world, but easily accessible in U.S. stores for the upcoming fall. How can we work the midi-skirt into our closet staples? You can find everything from classic A-lines to figure flattering pencil styles with contemporary detailing to amp up your fall wardrobe. Try taking a more fearless stance with bold footwear, interesting color pairing, or unique tops like the following women, whose adventurous nature can be seen in their clothing choices. Though their outfits may not fall into any specific category within Japanese fashion subcultures, it’s personal preference that makes each stand out.

 

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Image Courtesy of happyfuntimeblog.tumblr.com

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Image Courtesy of Tokyofaces.com

 

Image Courtesy of happyfuntimeblog.tumblr.com

Image Courtesy of happyfuntimeblog.tumblr.com

 

Image Courtesy of Ridsnap.com

Image Courtesy of Ridsnap.com

 

 

Looking to add a midi-skirt into your style rotation? Check out these finds below!

ASOS Pleated Midi-Skirt With Mesh Inserts. Available at Asos.com for $77.

ASOS Pleated Midi-Skirt With Mesh Inserts.
Available at Asos.com for $77.

 

In Check Pencil Midi-Skirt Available at Nastygal.com for $58.

In Check Pencil Midi-Skirt
Available at Nastygal.com for $58.

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Helmut Lang “Max” Asymmetrical Midi-Skirt. Available at Nordstrom.com for $230.

 

MSGM Printed Satin Midi Skirt. Available at Net-a-porter.com for $575.

MSGM Printed Satin Midi Skirt.
Available at Net-a-porter.com for $575.

 

— STORY BY MIN A. LEE

 

Tokyo Street Style: Fashion Meets Food Courtesy of Rotari Parker

 

Writing this before breakfast was a terrible idea — my hungry monster keeps getting more upset at the visual deliciousness before me. My love of eating, especially snacks, has gained me the nickname “Snack Attack,” and I won’t deny that I dream of pantries full of crunchy morsels on a regular basis. Now combine this obsession with my daily street style hunts and we reach foodie/fashionista heaven, otherwise known as Japanese accessory line Rotari Parker.

The label has been around for a few years, breathing new life into typical grocery aisle fare, and is still releasing delectable accessories periodically under their “Eat Me” line. These hand-produced marvels are fitting given the eclectic street style of Tokyo, where wearable art garners more appreciation than seasonal fashion movements. I know this story isn’t quite promoting healthy living, but sometimes adorable things are difficult to pass up. That, and I generally take on the “you only live once” approach to eating.

How does Japan wear these sweet and savory finds? By stacking them up because just one won’t do. There’s nothing like being decked out in pretzels and pastries to engage people’s fascination.

And yes, in case you were wondering, this is all real food.

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Photo Courtesy of Tokyofaces.com

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Photo Courtesy of Tokyostreetsnap.com

 

 

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Photo Courtesy of hpfrance.com

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Photo Courtesy of rotariparker.com

 

If you check out Rotari Parker’s Instagram you’ll find their newest designs along with behind-the-scene photos of how they create this yummy invasion of food and fashion. As a warning, it’s best not to look if you are starving at the moment and suffer from “hangriness.”

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Photos Courtesy of Instagram.com/rotariparker

 

 

— STORY BY MIN A. LEE

 

 

Summer Surfing: The New Alexander Wang Cage Installation

 

When you step into Alexander Wang’s New York Flagship store, you meet “The Cage.” Alone it may seem cold and uninviting, but Wang designed the enclosure to give customers a more stimulating way to view his designs by periodically switching up the artwork collaborations. He found a means to providing a fresh and original store image without having to deal with a complete redesign. In the past, the exhibitions included LED light graphics in fabric patterns, a ’90s pop culture throwback of old televisions and acclaimed florist creations.

This month, the newest installation combines the Haydenshapes Surfboard brand with sculpted sand. It’s a powerful display of creativity and hand-crafted precision developed by both Wang and Haydenshapes founder, Hayden Cox. Come live out the last days of summer with black marbled artwork, a looming wave and, of course, Wang’s must-have handbags and shoes.

 

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Wang’s black leather Bucket Bag and calfskin Lovisa Pumps ride the sculpted wave.

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A side angle of Wang’s artwork that was digitally printed on the boards.

 

 

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A more thorough angle of the cage installation.

For more inspiration from the recent Cage Exhibition, check out the short video filmed for it on Alexander Wang’s Youtube channel:


— STORY BY MIN A. LEE

 

It’s Not Too Late — We’ve Found the Perfect Summer Sunnies

 

There is one accessory that is a complete necessity during these summer months: a solid pair of sunglasses to take everywhere. This practical means of protection holds an iconic place in the fashion world from Audrey Hepburn’s Oliver Goldsmith frames in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Ray-Ban’s Wayfarers that have been around for decades. Luxury designers produce lines of collectible and vintage worthy styles, but I’ve found a new favorite: Sunday Somewhere’s recent collaboration with biracial Japanese American fashion blogger Rumi Neely of Fashiontoast.com.

These aren’t your typical sunnies. The frames may have a classic shape, but nontraditional materials and interesting color combinations provide a fresh take on the handmade beauties. Neely described it best on her blog: “I really wanted to make the details special, to have them stand out from the average pair, and we did just that with rose gold detailing, an all-leather option and matte metallics.” 

Below is part of the collection currently available at Net-a-porter and Sunday Somewhere. And for more daily fashion inspiration be sure to take a peek at her Fashion Toast photo streams!

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Tokyo D-frame in matte acetate and rose gold-tone metal, at net-a-porter.com for $400.

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Paris Sunglasses in matte metallic gold, at sundaysomewhere.com for $320.

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Paris Sunglasses in leather and snakeskin combination, at sundaysomewhere.com for $320.

 

 

Of course, we can’t end without some fabulous images of Neely wearing her newest collab.

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— STORY BY MIN A. LEE

Photos Courtesy of fashiontoast.com.

 

Chinese Canadian Jeananne Goossen On Playing a Trauma Doctor on “The Night Shift”

 

The Night Shift, NBC’s medical drama, just had its season finale last month and was renewed for a second season. The series, starring Chinese Canadian Jeananne Goossen, will return next year. We interviewed Goossen in our Summer 2014 issue about her role as newbie trauma doctor Krista.

Before Jeananne Goossen ever considered becoming an actor, she studied biochemistry in school and wanted to be a doctor. On May 27, her childhood dreams were fulfilled — at least in TV fantasyland — with the premiere of the new NBC medical series The Night Shift, in which she stars as first-year resident and overnight trauma doctor Krista.

The role of ER physician is a good fit for her. “I’m not an extreme adrenaline junkie, but I’m definitely excited by things that make my heart beat faster, like sky- diving, rollercoasters, turbulence and earthquakes,” says Goossen. “Also, I tend to gravitate toward crisis management situations. When sh-t goes down, I tend to jump in the middle of it, so there’s a lot to draw from in my normal life for my character.”

The Night Shift features an ensemble of doctors, some of whom are former military physicians who have had hardcore experiences performing life-saving operations in Afghanistan (and are more comfortable flying by the seat of their pants), and others who are threatened by the risks posed by these uninhibited rule-breakers while working at the San Antonio Medical Center, a more business-oriented but equally top-notch facility.

Krista is a newbie who is confident and fearless in her skill sets — the pilot episode shows her not wincing at all when faced with the prospect of stitching up a patient’s testicles for the first time — and even though it doesn’t explicitly say so in the script, Goossen imagines her character looks up to Topher, a veteran doctor played by Ken Leung (Lost, The Sopranos).

 

 

In real life, Goossen calls Leung “one of my favorite people,” but more than that, she feels a natural camaraderie with him, as a Chinese Canadian hapa who has never had the opportunity to work with another actor of Chinese descent on a TV show before.

Goossen’s parents met in Hong Kong when they were young, and they both ended up getting a master’s in East Asian studies and working in academia in Japan. (Her father, Ted Goossen, is a professor who translates for the famed author Haruki Murakami.) This makes Goossen’s background extra layered, as she identifies very strongly with her hybrid Chinese Canadian community in Toronto, yet because she spent years of her childhood in Japan, she also speaks Japanese and was very informed by Japanese culture growing up.

As a result, she feels very much at home with The Night Shift’s cast, who are not only diverse (co-star Daniella Alonso is of Japanese, Peruvian and Puerto Rican descent) but all happen to be the type of people who are interested in and, more importantly, can stomach the graphic tech rehearsals where they try to get the surgical procedures as accurate as they can be, with the help of medical consultants. Goossen loves learning about these wild, thinking-outside-the-box procedures, like in a scene (that unfortunately ended up on the cutting room floor) where Topher shows Krista how to relieve the pressure of liquid in someone’s brain by using a drill that one would normally use for construction. As the show’s eight-episode season unfolds, Goossen is excited for audiences to learn more about Krista, whether she’s dealing with the unexpected ramifications of inevitable trauma tragedies or confessing a secret that surfaces when she’s the only one who can recognize what’s wrong with a patient with mysterious symptoms.

— STORY BY ADA TSENG 

 

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here. 

 

Summer Must Read: “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng

 

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” And with that first line of Pushcart Prize recipient Celeste Ng’s haunting debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, you know you’re in for the long haul, if for no other reason than to find out how and why. But as you begin to uncover the secrets and pains and misdirected motivations of each member of the mixed-race Lee family trying to fit in in 1970s Ohio, you realize it’s more the redemption of the living that you yearn for: from the patriarch James who can’t seem to escape the outsider status his Chinese face brands on him; to his wife Marilyn, obsessed with an unfulfilled dream and her failure to break out of her own mother’s homemaker mold; to son Nathan, a living reminder to his father, despite his academic successes, of his own social ineptitudes. But perhaps most heartbreaking is the youngest, Hannah, whose very conception lays the groundwork for a dysfunctional dynamic that would culminate in tragedy. Ng writes:

What about Hannah? They set up her nursery in the bedroom in the attic, where things that were not wanted were kept, and even when she got older, now and then each of them would forget, fleetingly, that she existed — as when Marilyn, laying four plates for dinner one night, did not realize her omission until Hannah reached the table. Hannah, as if she understood her place in the cosmos, grew from quiet infant to watchful child: a child fond of nooks and corners, who curled up in closets, behind sofas, under dangling tablecloths, staying out of sight as well as out of mind, to ensure the terrain of the family did not change.

 

 

Details Hardcover, $26.96, penguin.com.

 

— STORY BY ANNA M. PARK 

 

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here

Asia Street Style: Let Your Clothes Do The Talking With NOVELTY TOPS

 

Novelty tops continue to be a favorite during the warmer months on Asian street style blogs. I’ve seen everything from childhood favorites like Mickey Mouse to pop art explosions, but ultimately I like reading the cool, edgy phrases that turn up on shirts.  Sometimes people prefer to let their clothes do the talking, and it’s quite fun to browse through a variety of designs and typography. It does appear that simple sans-serif fonts printed against plain backgrounds are favored this season, mimicking the style of quote posts we see all over social media platforms.

Despite what Alexander Wang’s spring/summer 2014 collection would suggest, message tees aren’t a new trend; in fact they’ve been around for decades (Frankie Says Relax, anyone?), but they are constantly being reinvented as mainstream pop and political culture is ever-changing.

Check out some of the novelty tops that caught my eye.

 


 

Sporting a message that can be interpreted in multiple ways will keep people thinking.

 

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Photo Above Courtesy of studiolumiere1.tumblr.com

 

Start the day off by sharing some positive notes.

 

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Photo Courtesy of iamalexfinch.net

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Photo Courtesy of seoul-style.tumblr.com

You, me, Oui!  A play on words and sounds can be fun expressions.

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Photo courtesy of instagram.com/sanddi_lee

Want to add some written expressions into your style rotation? Check out these three contemporary designer finds.

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Flam Boy Ant Box Fit Short Sleeve Tee by Zoe Karssen Available at: www.zoekarssenshop.com for $81.

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Happy Bowery Tee by Textile Elizabeth And James Available at: www.shopbop.com for $92.

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Super Loved Muscle Tee by Current/Elliott Available at: www.neimanmarcus.com for $108.

 

— STORY BY MIN A. LEE

Feature image courtesy of stalman.com.

 

What It’s Like To Be an Asian American Living in Paris

 

Founder of the Asian American empowerment writing program Glamourbaby Diaries, Ruby Veridiano is fulfilling a dream as a fashion student living in the City of Lights. Here, she tells us what it’s like to be an Asian American living in Paris. 

I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that I’d ever have the opportunity to live in France. As the child of Filipino immigrants raised in a modest California town, I came from humble beginnings. Though I’d dreamed of living in Paris for many years, it seemed only a distant fantasy. Yet, as life has proven, no dream is too good to come true.

Over the past decade, I had invested my life in the nonprofit sector as an artist educator and girls’ empowerment champion. Through it all, I had never forgotten my first love: fashion. Last September, I serendipitously found a program at the American University of Paris that would allow me to merge my passion for social good with my love for fashion through a degree specializing in corporate social responsibility in the fashion and luxury industries. A few weeks later, I was accepted, and my whirlwind journey to France began. By January, I had officially become a fashion student and a formal resident of Paris. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

When I first arrived in Paris, I was awed by the romance and elegance of the city. Everything from the architecture to the food to the fashion was created in the spirit of exquisite beauty. In fact, all I saw during my first hour on the streets of Paris were well-tailored suits, plush furs and a sea of red-soled high heels in proper homage to Christian Louboutin. Having Paris as a classroom is pretty much the most exciting thing to happen to a fashion student.

 

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As I soon learned, the French art de vivre makes Americans seem like workaholic maniacs. French culture celebrates the ability to enjoy life, and that includes ensuring that work won’t detract from this pursuit. Dinner is enjoyed for hours to savor every taste, and meals are often gourmet heavens filled with artisanal cheeses and tastefully designed plates. And the wine! Red wines are so necessary to the French that they flow freely and endlessly.

Yet despite all the wonderful French food, a Filipina girl will always crave her rice, lumpia and, well, her community. Luckily, the biggest surprise I’ve gotten since moving here is that I can’t turn a street corner without seeing a Filipino person or hearing Tagalog. Since the Philippines has the largest domestic workforce in the world, Filipinos are everywhere, even in Paris.

In the 17th arrondissement, you can find groups of Filipina women gathering at Parc Monceau, a popular park in the city. Many of them came to France to pursue better working conditions and work as nannies for wealthy children. When speaking with one of them, I was saddened to hear how she has had to give up raising her own child for another, but she does it to ensure that she can take care of her family back home. This is the story many overseas Filipina workers share, and I deeply honor their sacrifice and resilience.

There are also Filipina and other Asian women who have grown up in France, and admittedly, it is strange to see that, although they look a lot like me, they speak a completely different language. And since Paris attracts visitors worldwide, it’s not uncommon to come across Asians with a diverse range of accents, ranging from Australian to British. Hands down, the biggest blessing of living internationally is witnessing how diverse our diaspora truly is.

 

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As I continue living out this dream, I’ve picked up a few favorite spots along the way. Here, some of the highlights of my Paris.

Chez Francis: Conveniently situated right in front of the Pont d’Alma bridge, the outdoor seating at this café guarantees a front row view of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River. A little pricey, but the view is worth it.

Palais Galliera: Paris is the fashion capital of the world, so it’s only right that you attend a fashion exhibit. Palais Galliera is home to the city’s most inspiring fashion curations. A must.

Lafayette Café: While you’re in the fashion mood, stop by one of the city’s largest department stores, Galeries Lafayette. You don’t have to shop, but you have to eat at the sixth floor café, which offers the best panoramic views of Paris.

Les Arts Décoratifs: Sure, the Louvre is famous, but the smaller museum to the left of it packs a pretty powerful punch, too. Come here to check out exhibits on decorative arts and design, including the works of legendary fashion designer Dries Van Noten.

 

 

Parc Monceau: All the runners come to Parc Monceau to jog, but as a Filipina, this place is crucial. Because many Filipinas congregate here, you can often find lumpia and Filipino treats for sale.

Rue Cler Market Street: A well-known cobblestone street near the Eiffel Tower, rue Cler boasts festive outdoor cafés, fromageries (cheese storefronts), flower shops and bakeries.

Le Refuge des Fondues: Situated at the top of Montmartre, a neighborhood that gives you a taste of old Paris, this place is unlike any other fondue experience — you’re required to climb on top of tables and drink wine out of baby bottles.

Les Cocottes de Christian Constant: Christian Constant is the Wolfgang Puck of France: a master chef with signature restaurants. Les Cocottes offers cozy fine dining with friendly service (a rarity in France) and the best caramel waffle dessert ever. After dinner, walk over to Champ de Mars, the park that surrounds the Eiffel Tower. If you time it right on the hour, you can watch the Tower sparkle.

Le 114: Set on a street where young Parisians go to party, 114 (“cent quatorze” in French) is my favorite place to dance and release that grad school stress. Come in your sneakers and prepare to let go, let loose and have fun!

Find out more about the author at rubyveridiano.com. 

 

— STORY BY RUBY VERIDIANO 

 

This story was originally published in our Summer 2014 issue. Get your copy here!

Move Over Harajuku Girl! The Kurogyaru Is the Latest Look Out of Japan

 

Ganguro is one of Tokyo’s most distinct fashion subcultures, which started in the mid-1990s and is well known for some key characteristics: dark tans, bleached hair and dramatic white makeup. Contrary to what some might think, the style originally came about in opposition of the traditional Japanese beauty standard of fair skin, dark hair and a fairly simple makeup look. In order to rebel against this singular idea of beauty, Ganguro decided to express themselves with an extreme style so as to make their message loud and clear that there are other ways to be beautiful. Though the Ganguro look had mostly faded away by the 2000s, a succeeding subculture, Kurogyaru (literal translation: black gals), is keeping the spirit alive and Black Diamond is at the forefront spreading the fashion style all over the world. We caught up with Black Diamond recently and got the scoop directly from them.

 

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Audrey Magazine: What inspired you to form the group, Black Diamond?

Black Diamond: We are all just a bunch of girls who love the Kurogyaru style. Our current manager originally wanted to publish a special edition magazine featuring Kurogyaru fashion, so he tried to bring people together which is how we got involved. Over time, we became a group and now we have more than 150 members in Japan.

AM: Although Ganguro is a trend from the mid-’90s, what made you want to revive it and get into the Kurogyaru style?

BD: As a group, our goal is to spread the Kurogyaru style. Ganguro has completely faded out and now Kurogyaru is a newer evolution of that subculture. We noticed that there aren’t many people dressing in this way, so we want to inspire people to enjoy Kurogyaru.

AM: What is the difference between Ganguro and Kurogyaru style?

BD: Ganguro is also known for the tanned skin, but other than that, we would say the styles are completely different. Ganguro makeup tends to be like heavy and white makeup around the eyes, but Kurogyaru is a lot more colorful. We have a more modern way of doing our makeup and hair, as well as clothing style.

 

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AM: What are your thoughts on the traditional Asian beauty standard of porcelain skin?

BD: We think that there’s nothing wrong with liking pale skin. We just happen to prefer darker skin and we hope people can see the beauty in that, too.

AM: So from your perspective, what is beauty?

BD: Beauty is … flashiness? Flashy hair, flashy clothes, flashy makeup, flashy nails? [Laughs] Beauty is dark skin and flashiness.

AM: How do you accomplish your daily look? How long does it take?

BD: Well, for makeup, we do it everyday obviously. [Laughs] Our outfits depend on our moods and the weather. Like today, Harutama (the one with blue hair) and Rise (the one with pink hair) coordinated together and did their hair like the popular Japanese characters Kiki and Lala [Little Twin Stars]. It really depends on each person, but on average, it takes us about one to two hours to get ready everyday.

AM: What is a must-have Kurogyaru item?

BD: A tanning bed. [Laughs] False eyelashes? Actually if we don’t have everything, the look just isn’t right. Every item is a must-have. [Laughs]

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AM: Black Diamond not only has members in Japan but overseas as well. How has your group grown internationally?

BD: The Internet. People saw and heard about us from the Internet and many people wanted to join our group from their home countries, so we have many subgroups in different regions of Japan and also in various parts of the world.

AM: Can you tell us about your ongoing or upcoming projects?

BD: We are working on starting our own clothing line. One of our greatest motivations is that there are many foreigners who are into Kurogyaru style and they cannot easily get the clothes or the right sizes, so we want to make our line more accessible for Kurogyaru fans internationally.

Kurogyaru are also known for their “para para” style of dancing. Check it out here:

 

 

For more information on Black Diamond, you can check out their Facebook page here.
–Story and photos by Mai Nguyen.