Look of the Week: Harajuku

I noticed that Japanese people don’t stare, They glance, if even, then look away. Or they don’t look at all. Almost like you’re invisible. Which is probably for the better. It gives you a sense of anonymity and privacy, especially as a foreigner. This red look I put on however, got smiles and stares and up-and-downs from men, women and children. I still wonder what they were thinking when they saw this blonde girl prancing around in the rain like a harajuku girl with an identity crisis. I’m sure it was an odd sight, for anyone.

I bought this oriental-inspired 60’s dress at Small Change, a vintage store in Koenji, a really fun, young, small neighourhood a few stops on the metro from Shibuya. The store is located inside the arcade behind the metro station. The ground floor is men’s and the second floor is women’s. Though the majority of the vintage stores in Tokyo focus on American import – which I obviously have no interest in – this store had everything a girl’s heart desires: long prairie dresses, 1950’s cardigans, circle skirts, floral shirts, box hats from every era and a wall of colorful shoes. It’s quite big! Besides the dress I also bought the two rings with mini crystal balls. It was actually cuter to wear two. The velvet flower head piece is from Santa Monica, a vintage store on the main strip of Onomatesandou, on the edge of Harajuku. This store is more catered to men, with varsity cardigans, baseball jackets and denim jeans. My shoes are SS11 Balenciaga, worn with ankle socks.

But then… the nails!! I have to admit this might be my best souvenir from Tokyo. I had them done at Espoir, a swanky salon I discovered in Shibuya. When you walk in they show you a sheet of questions translated to English. What kind of nails do you want? After half an hour of sign language, going through catalogs and customizing, you get to take off your shoes, put on slippers, sink into a big leather, reclinable chair and cover yourself with a blanket. And then you pretty much lie there, in awe of this pretty Japanese girl’s infallible skills. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. She used gel and paint and two Swarovski crystals to give my nails the Mini Mouse effect. They won’t chip or scratch or break until you remove them. They’re supposed to last for two months. Until then I will look at them every day, with utter delight. It’s my little piece of harajuku right here in Brooklyn.

Photos by Josh Madson. Follow him on twitter @joshmadson.

November 14, 2011

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