LAFORET HARAJUKU DEPARTMENT STORE: EMILY TEMPLE CUTE, JANE MARPLE SHOPPING.
Don’t let Avril Lavigne’s giant mug scare you off. You have arrived at Laforet, the Harajuku shopping complex on Meiji Doori. (Avril recently collaborated with the department store… she’s strangely big in Japan. “Because she’s blonde,” explains Patrick Macias.)
At Marui Young Shinjuku, shoppers climb the stairway to Goth, Punk, Shoe, and Sweet Lolita Heaven. Laforet is more haphazard: our favorite brands are (appropriately) relegated underground to the two basement levels. However, if you don’t venture to the levels above, you’ll be kicking yourself.
On the 2nd floor, you’ll find Jane Marple Dans Le Salon. The warm tones and bric-a-brac make you feel like you’ve entered the elderly detective’s cozy home.
Some of you asked how I took these photos, since store clerks flip out whenever they see a camera. It’s called shooting from the hip: hang the DSLR around your neck; aim and click when nobody’s looking. Stores don’t allow photography because gawking tourists spoil the atmosphere… but if they don’t catch me, it never happened, right?
Jane Marple’s designs are as gorgeous in real life as in the catalog. I love the outfit in the store display: British riding hat, fur-trimmed cardigan, plaid ruffle-shorts, brown leather boots… charming!
Ne-Net is on the same floor; I found cute furry cat-face purses and black bunny necklaces that would please a Gothic Lolita. h.NAOTO is the best young designer at Tokyo Fashion Week, but Ne-Net comes second (in my opinion).
With a new jewelry collection called “Androgynous M.Anaxibia,” Yoshiko Creation Paris can do no wrong. I’ve come across many rose rings, but the fine construction of Yoshiko’s black and white interpretations stopped me in my tracks.
Crafty DIY-types will love Rojinka, a huge supply store on the 3rd floor. On one wall, you can buy project baggies that come with instructions; this way, the most amateur crafter can turn shiny black crystals into a spider brooch.
Emily Temple Cute holds court on the 4th floor. If only you could touch the wool coats and 1950s candy slip-on shoes…
Next, we venture down down down to the Laforet underground!