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Haute Couture and Sports: Appreciating Fashion Polarities

Kaori Watanabe


I love fashion. I love clothes. Based on those two factors alone, I chose to work as an editor. My perpetual approach, on the job and in my personal life, is that merely looking good isn’t the end-all, be-all of good style… and so on and so forth. I’ll stop here with the stuffy theorizing. I’m headed to GINZA SIX to shop blissfully to my heart’s content at the stores of three of my absolute favorite brands.

I like the take on contemporary that high-end brands reveal through their clothing. The lovely details of Valentino hale from a dream. I love the worldview this fashion radiates, euphoria in its dense-packed form. Located on Chuo-dori, a fashion street that’s the pride of Japan, this is Valentino’s largest store in Japan. It carries all the brand’s categories and occupies five floors, from the first belowground level to the fourth floor. I start on the third floor, which features the latest women’s fashions arranged by theme and color.

I immediately make my way to the area that displays the brand’s 2018 resort collection. I reach out to touch a cozy-feeling orange knit skirt. I want it. The beach sandals worn by the mannequin are adorned, astonishingly, with two tones of mink fur. The level of authentic style is off the charts. I want them. The section coordinated in white, beige, and ecru leaves me ecstatic. I want it all. If only these wishes came true.

I walk into the gorgeous gold elevator and go to the second floor. I’ve always feared playing it safe, so I’m not a huge fan of looking good in black. But in a store loaded with exuberant colors and patterns, what catches my eye is a black hooded jacket. It features sporty elements, but the fabric is thin high-quality leather. This exquisite contrast is very Valentino. I promptly try it on and find it extraordinarily light and the form superb—it feels very contemporary. No doubt this is a distinctive black. And I want it! (This is why I work…) Examining the mannequins clad in the newest collection along the windows, I spy some socks with a ribbon-like hem and delicate sandals. I want the socks, and in every color.

I like highly functional outdoor brands. I don’t climb mountains, but since I’m basically a plain, hide-myself-away type, I like having fun incorporating these clothes into normal fashions. So, with excitement in my heart, I trek to The North Face Unlimited, located on the fifth floor. The store features the brand’s Urban Exploration, Purple Label, and women’s collections. There’s fashion and functionality aplenty in these outdoor items for adults, along with a carefully selected array of merchandise. And you can take your time looking through it all throughout the store.

The travel kit is a product quite a few of my editor and stylist friends are likely to love. When I praise it as really easy to use, incorporating pouches with three sizes, the store staff tells me, “Just recently, as an upgrade, you can get a set of pouches with five different sizes.” I hear that and instantly make the decision to buy. I’m smiling as I check out all the space inside and how easy it is to use. Paris Fashion Week is coming up, and I never do my packing until there’s almost no time left the day before, but now I’m looking forward to it. The Glam Complete Travel Kit has the essentials for travel and business trips. You can put it right in the closet at your destination… and as I’m talking excitedly about it here, the editor in charge of this feature next to me, Okada-san, makes the same impulse decision to buy it.

In the rear of the store, I find MXP innerwear with thoughtful features for women. It’s something I’d also recommend as a small gift. The package is appealing, and I find myself reaching for it. In the section with the men’s Purple Label, I see long-sleeve T-shirts, a favorite of mine. The logo on the pocket is smaller this season. You could wear one over an ankle-length print dress or simply pair it with slim black denim. They’re offered in men’s sizes. I decide it’d be fun to wear an oversized one, so I buy a large.

I love sports brands, and I’ve loved adidas forever, from the time I was a naïve high school student. Seeing the beloved three stripes gives me an instant boost. I feel like I’m on my home turf and relax. I immediately begin to smother the store manager, Minamisawa-san, chatting about my love for adidas as I wander through the store. Last season I bought the logo parka. “The logo is smaller!” I exclaim, “and the pocket’s changed, too; Now, it’s zippered!”

My work normally involves haute couture magazines, but I’ve decided to be into sneakers. It’s important to have both the latest trends and the street-style fashion I’ve loved since I was a teenager. This balance of the latest in high fashion and sneakers is essentially me. I’ve worn a lot of different sneakers, but the Campus, adidas’ indomitable masterpiece, is currently my King of Sneakers. I have a trove of eight pairs at home in different colors, all with different release dates. “I’ve worn out multiple pairs of the Gazelle. In my early 20’s, I imitated Marc Jacobs’ personal look and wore Stan Smiths…” Now, at 40, my sneaker girl talk remains unstoppable. Along with Minamisawa-san, we take a shot of two colors of Campus. The photographer next to me, Uesawa-san, buys a black pair. “Thank you for your purchase,” I feel like saying. You won’t regret it!

Of course, I can hardly leave the store empty-handed. So, today, I buy a brightly colored men’s nylon parka and three stripe pants for women you can wear like leggings.

On the way home, after wandering GINZA SIX and buying some new clothes, I think to myself, simply and honestly, “OK, great, can’t wait to work hard again tomorrow!” This itself is the true joy of shopping and the exuberant power of fashion.

Text:Kaori Watanabe Photos:Yuka Uesawa Edit:Yuka Okada


Kaori Watanabe

Editor. Born in Tokushima in 1977. Embarked on a freelance career as an editor after working at a publishing company and as a writer in London. Involved in the production of women’s fashion magazines, ad visuals, and catalogs. Heads FW, an editing and production company.



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