Category Archive for Fashion
Tokyo Christmas Lights display: Shinjuku southern terrace bakery. Vienna & Bratislava Goth travel video.
‘Tis the season to be jolly! I had a wonderful time in Tokyo, working on a European TV shoot. During my downtime, I took photos of the city’s Christmas light displays and cute holiday gifts, which I’ll share with you in this post.
Another reason to make merry: my Vienna and Bratislava travel episode is published on the front page of Business Insider! Please enjoy my latest video (featuring Austrian Gothlolis) and the “bokeh-ful” photos below.
This wall of lights was the perfect place to shoot my new :3-faced purse, from the Mercibeaucoup store in Marui Shinjuku Annex. Isn’t it darling? This dog-like creature comes in tan-colored faux fur as well, but I chose the blue one to match my current hair.
I went for an all-purple coordinate.
Sugar skull purple cardigan: gifted by Sourpuss Clothing. (I also own their cat-face cardigan, which you can buy online.)
Plaid purple skirt: Peace Now, similar to this one available for sale
Faux fur eggplant colored scarf: Holt Renfrew. Almost identical to this scarf.
My business partner Naomi shot these photos of me in Shinjuku Southern Terrace. During the holiday season, this passageway is lit up with little LEDs, which snake around the trees and walls.
Xmas displays are the perfect opportunity to produce “bokeh”, or these nifty glowing balls of lights.
In Japan, not very many people identify as Christians. Nevertheless, Christmas decorations and lights are everywhere. This impressive annual display turns the Southern Terrace into a dream-land.
You’ll rarely see religious iconography. Instead, the stars of the show are cute winter creatures… like these penguins!
Judging from the holiday goods for sale, the Japanese put “kawaii” above all else.
This Xmas ornament is a perfect example: it incorporates a teddy bear, stars and bon-bons.
Or how about this kawaii Rudolph the Reindeer sticker, from a 100 yen store.
Or a Santa Claus pig. People do exchange Christmas gifts and have gatherings with friends, but not many attend church.
Nonetheless, there’s a merry feeling in the air. It’s a great time of the year to pick up little presents, like these Russian Doll cookies.
The bright Southern Terrace is home to one of the best bakeries in Tokyo: Gontran Cherrier. This window image makes me think of “The Little Matchstick Girl.”
I’m a big fan of gingerbread, and pressed my nose to this display.
Gontran Cherrier has many pumpkin baked goods, including pumpkin curry buns. I also found yuzu cheesecake and black squid ink pizza.
Croissants get a Christmas tree twist, and are dusted with powdered sugar snow.
All over Tokyo, you’ll find wonderful department store displays. This child seems to like the steampunk-y window at Odakyu.
Ritzy boutiques like Laduree aren’t the only ones that get into the Christmas spirit.
Even the Goth Punk store Algonquins “makes the Yuletide gay.”
I did quite a bit of “me to me” shopping in Tokyo. My funny-faced Mercibeaucoup bag is among my favorite new purchases.
Lots more Japan winter fashion to show you, including a Nightmare Before Christmas collection from Lumine.
My faux fur purse is large enough to hold my Sony DSLR a700 camera, which I’m taking everywhere with me now. (The extra weight is worth it, for photos like these.)
To achieve bokeh and shallow focus, I use a prime lens (Sony 50mm f/1.8). A quick way to achieve this effect: get in aperture mode (A on the dial), and stop down to a low f-number.
I shot this string of rainbow lights right outside the Shinjuku station east exit.
The “Shinjuku” neon sign, with a traditional man and woman, always makes me smile. Isn’t Japan amazing during the winter?
PS: My newest travel episode, about Vienna and Bratislava’s cool culture, is released! Watch me hang out with Austrian Gothic Lolitas, visit a rockabilly stores, and drink absinthe in a Slovakian bar.
I leave you with a bonus photo of Slovakia’s spooky street art. Would you do a European train trip like mine? I hope you learned something new from our Business Insider video; let us know your feedback in the comments. Happy holidays!
After our shopping escapades at Siam Discovery, Seby and I were glad to discover Thailand’s spiritual side.
Our personal tour guide, Sylvie from Destination Asia, brought us to the famous Buddhist temple of Wat Pho. (2 Sanamchai Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok.)
This is one of the oldest and largest wats (Buddhist monasteries) in Bangkok. Entry fee is a low 100 baht, or $3. The walled complex has 16 gates, guarded by menacing Chinese stone giants.
Wat Pho is a historic center of education for Thai massage and medicine; it’s considered the first public university in the country. Many of the walls showed instructive yoga diagrams.
There are over 1000 images of the Buddha here, surrounded by colorful, gold-accented roofs.
One courtyard held statues imported from China and India. Interesting to see the different ways the Buddha is depicted in art.
Mythological lions and other spirit animals peered from the gardens.
We went inside to see the Reclining Buddha statue, a golden marvel that measures 160 ft long.
Who knew, the Buddha has big feet! The soles are laden with mother of pearl, and carved with stories and figures from Siddhartha’s life journey.
Seby and I also went into this meditation room, where people prayed at the Golden Buddha’s altar.
Once again, I accidentally violated the dress code! I thought I was sufficiently covered-up. But apparently, your shoulders cannot be on display at all, and a long skirt can’t have a slit in it. The security officer glares as I put on skirts and scarves, provided by the temple.
My companion, on the other hand, was appropriately dressed. For future reference, one must wear long pants (no capris or shorts) and skirts must reach below the knee, without any slits. Shoulders and chests should be covered.
Close-up of the dynamic rooftop, with its gilded layers and fiery shapes.
The silhouette of spires against the sky.
We glimpsed many Buddhist monks in orange robes, as well as young temple boys. Sylvie reminded us to maintain distance, out of respect. We learned that laypeople can become monks for a few years, or even a few weeks, and then go back to regular life.
Walking around, we saw that Wat Pho is also populated by dogs and cats!
The story’s a sad one: these pets were abandoned. Thailand doesn’t have many resources for animals, so they are left at Buddhist temples, in the hope that the monks will take care of them. While a bit scruffy, this dog looked calm in front of the famous Row of Golden Buddhas.
This white cat came over to say hi. Some were very skinny and lacked tails… what a difference from my rotund Basil Farrow.
The compassion of the Buddhists keeps these creatures alive, but the monks have few resources themselves. If you’d like to help, look up Temple Dogs Voluntourism programs, where travelers can help care for animals in Thai monasteries.
Having Sylvie as our Destination Asia guide made this experience special. We had a memorable conversation about Buddhism, and learned about the history and architecture in a natural, relaxed way. (I found out these mounds are called chedis or stupas, and they contain relics such as the ashes of monks.)
In a packed trip, we appreciated this moment to reflect and think about what’s truly important. I hope you’ll get to experience Thailand’s gorgeous temples for yourself.
Have you visited a monastery like this, or read books about Buddhism? Do you consider yourself part of any religion?
I leave you with another spiritual statue — this one Hindu, and found in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, of all places. The “Churning of the Ocean of Milk” or “Samudra manthan” depicts a mythological tale of devas and asuras. How funny to see the Gucci sign in the background.
Shinjuku Hello Kitty store: Sanrio clothes & Tokyo cute food! Hong Kong Express Airways magazine cover.
I know you love cute Japanese characters, so I captured tons of photos during my TV shoot in Tokyo earlier this year (hence the pink hair). I’m actually in Japan right now, for yet another TV filming, so there are many more photos on the way…
For now, enjoy these images of Totoro donuts, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu contact lenses and more kawaii — as well as another magazine cover, for a Hong Kong in-flight magazine!
Last spring, I had sakura-colored hair. Before the TV crew arrived, Naomiyaki took some street snaps of me in Shinjuku. The colorful energy of this entertainment district (which holds Christon Cafe, Marui One, host clubs and more) can’t be beat.
My Hello Kitty shoes are ridiculous: red and white, with a big plump bow! They are part of the KiLaRa Hello Kitty fashion collection in Hong Kong.
I’m hugging the iconic giant Hello Kitty statue, who sits in front of Shinjuku’s Sanrio Gift Gate shop. (Address: 1st Floor, Korakuen Ad Hoc Building, 3-15-11 Shinjuku). It’s one of the many Hello Kitty shops you’ll find in Tokyo.
However, probably the largest and scariest source of Sanrio goods is Puroland, the Hello Kitty theme park…
Glam Nail Studio Vancouver decorated me with pastel nail art, ringed with glitter and topped with a Keroppy. As always, I use Bio Sculpture Gel (the polish never chips, but also doesn’t damage the nail as acrylics do).
As you might expect, there are Hello Kitty products all over Tokyo. The products in the official Sanrio shops are often pricier, but you can find little souvenirs (like these My Melody bath balls) in Don Quixote, Tokyu Hands, and even 100 yen stores.
When you walk around the city, you’ll surely encounter cute decorated food! These Totoro pastries, from a Nakano North Exit bakery, were among the most adorable. I also found Anpanman and happy face buns nearby. (Offerings change constantly, so your best bet is to pop your head into bakeries and see what’s currently available.)
Mr. Donut’s Pon de Lion mascot brightens up this snack. They recently released a Halloween Hello Kitty donut, and currently offer Snoopy and Woodstock ones.
Even convenience stores like 7-Eleven have kawaii food. In Cantonese, this cat bun would be called a “maoo baoo”!
In a ramen shop, I spotted this white cat on a bottle of sake. It’s “Nigorin Sake with Lactic Bacterium” — a light, milky sour made from fermented rice alcohol. Even though the bottle is adorable, I didn’t dare try it.
Don Quixote is a “general store” with locations all around Tokyo. (The iconic location is on Yasakuni-doori near the Shinjuku Station east exit.) Here, you can pick up cosmetics, beauty products, homewares and even electronics for excellent prices.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is the present It Girl, and poster child for a line of circle colored contact lenses.
Even Japanese hair dyes have pretty packaging. The “Fresh Light” brand is modeled by Junie Moon dolls (remember my photos of the Junie Moon doll store in Daikanyama?)
There’s no better place to pick up a French maid or Japanese schoolgirl costume.
Turn into a living doll with the help of colored contacts (like the ones I wore here).
Rilakkuma fans, you may go a bit crazy…
This plush bear is a popular sight all over town. There must be hundreds in this crane game machine.
Who are your favorite Japanese kawaii characters? Have you tried making food in the shape of Hello Kitty and friends?
For recipes and tips on how to “cook cute,” I invite you to check out my book, Cute Yummy Time (Penguin Books USA). Perhaps it might be a good Christmas gift.
PS: In addition to Rebelicious, I’m on another cover this month: the very first issue of UO, the in-flight magazine of Hong Kong Express Airways. This is a newly-launched airline, with routes from Hong Kong to nearby destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka, Phuket, and Penang.
Thanks to this youth-focused, short-haul airline for making me their cover ambassador, and interviewing me about my favorite places in Tokyo. You can read UO Magazine online here, in both English and Chinese. (Photos by Said Karlsson, hair by Kukukachoo, more images from this shoot here.)
I’ll likely be doing more with HK Express soon, so stay tuned for that… and loads of Japan winter coverage!
Art Nouveau Disco Goth! Rebelicious Magazine cover: Angelica Brigade hair flowers, Vaute Couture dresses.
While I was in Portland, I did something special… I shot a cover and spread for Rebelicious Magazine! It’s an honor to be the face of their winter issue, which came out today.
There’s more happy news: my Budapest travel video and slideshow are published here on Business Insider, and the reaction is huge — 150,000 views and counting! I hope you’ll take a minute to watch, and that you’ll enjoy the photos below.
My team and I took these images in Portland, Oregon, mainly around Steel Bridge. I love shooting outdoors in different cities, as I feel these types of photos best convey the feeling of a place.
All of the magazine photography is by Melissa Rundle and Eric Bergemann, who are also my travel filmmakers. So far, we’ve filmed in Budapest, Maldives, Mexico, Hawaii, Belgrade and more! (You can see all videos on my YouTube channel.)
First Mate Naomi Rubin took behind-the-scenes and additional photos, which I’ll share in an upcoming post.
Aren’t these velvet dresses adorable? They were lent to me by Vaute Couture, an eco-conscious and vegan fashion label. The latest collection is inspired by Sailor Moon — the Jpop colors and cute cuts were a perfect fit for me.
You can purchase this Kristina dress, a Constellation dress and more from Vaute Couture’s website.
My silk flower hair accessories were created by hand, by Angelica Brigade.
The accessories can be pinned or clipped on, and arranged in any way — including stacking them to make a flower crown. Angelica Brigade customized the colors to match my new hair!
Speaking of — my mermaid hair color is the work of Stephanie Hoy of Avant Garde Hair in Vancouver. The ombre effect is a combination of turquoise, blue and dark purple.
My coat is a disco-pimp dream, isn’t it? It’s vintage Alan Cherry (Toronto designer brand), from Portland store Hattie’s. Once I saw the long white leather panels and faux-fur trim, I had to have it.
The cut-out black boots are Yosuke, from Marui One Shinjuku
My makeup is 100% Annabelle Cosmetics, a Canadian company. I’ve been wearing them the entire time in Portland.
As you might know, I’m a big fan of Art Nouveau, and wanted to do a shoot inspired by this aesthetic.
My take on the dreamy, floral world of the Mucha ladies. (Remember when I saw his Art Nouveau exhibit in Tokyo?)
It’s an honor to shoot for Rebelicious Magazine, a publication “for girly girls in a brutal world.” They celebrate alternative style, underground culture and individuality — all things I stand for.
The winter issue features an interview with me, so you’ll have to pick up Rebelicious Magazine here for the full scoop!
Which of the two outfits do you prefer? It’s fun to switch up my wardrobe, in order to match my ever-changing hair color.
No animals were harmed to make this faux fur scarf. I got it at Holt Renfrew.
Here is the shot that ended up being the magazine cover.
The back of my Vaute Couture dress has a cut-out star.
Portland’s autumn colors were too gorgeous not to shoot.
Lens flare is always welcome, especially when it reflects teal like my dress.
Thanks to Rebelicious Mag and my team for this wonderful project.
PS: My Budapest travel video is released! Watch as I visit hipster bars, rock out at a surreal music festival, and taste Hungarian food. I hope the Mission Impossible running scene makes you smile.
See my shenanigans above and on Business Insider. Thanks to all of you, for making my creative pursuits possible.