When I say I work in fashion to those outside the fashion bubble, the question that more often than not gets fired back is “so what should I be wearing next season” or variations thereon. It is a question usually asked with a slight grin as if readying themselves for a good laugh at the idea that something preposterous is going to be “in” or else I can re-affirm their prejudice that everyone in fashion is like a cast member of Nathan Barley spouting distancing keywords in lieu of, well, anything really. My answer is usually a public service announcement to not conflate personal style with fashion, the key difference being that in the present day fashion is a rather artificial mechanism that attempts to push for the new, which they are quite right in feeling alienated by, whereas personal style is the process of dipping into the vast pool of collective style history that we have managed to accumulate thus far, safe in the knowledge that short of ridicule there is nothing to be afraid of. Saying that, I think finding your own sense of personal style is often easier said than done, after all there is pretty much all of fashion creation to dive into, but more often than not the roots are something you encountered in your formative years – that first glimpse of Comme des Garcons or the poster of Nirvana hung on your wall, and my advice to my hypothetical inquisitor is to run with these emotional ties and just see where it takes you. You may or may not find yourself the toast of the fashion establishment, but there is a very good chance you will be happy.
Luckily for myself I found my fashion muse relatively early on in life, and when I am not having fun playing with innovative fashion, my own collection of turn of the century militaria, Victorian and Meiji-era formal wear, and Freemason regalia is looking very healthy indeed, and it definitely fulfills the latter purpose of making me very happy indeed. Seeing as I am feeling self-indulgent today I thought I would share my personal favorite brand in Tokyo today, not favorite as in Mikio Sakabe-esque contribution to fashion as a whole, but favorite in that I personally order it for myself every season – Share Spirit.
You will probably struggle to find these photos elsewhere online, seeing as Share Spirit run a very tight showroom and generally keep themselves to themselves. The designer, Hikaru Kitano, has fans in very high places, but most of his fans like to keep the brand a well kept secret – something I am guilty of that as well. However in the interest of honoring the very name of the line, I thought I would take this opportunity to share.
For AW 2014-15 Share Spirit have taken to the stage for some dressier and somewhat theatrical versions of its on-going oeuvre of Napoleon jackets and tuxedos, before heading into the outright golden years of glamour as below.
As ever I find myself siding with the heavier pieces like this wonderful leather paneled coat that gives a wonderfully strong bodice when worn closed.
Share Spirit has been feeling more and more elegant for the last 4 seasons, but there are still some raw hems and raucous fur for those that want it.
It is easy to get distracted by the gold braid and beading, but Share Spirit can certainly cut a fine bishop sleeve and pleat with the best of them.
On to the men’s:
This season the formal trousers have been given a suitably decadent Chaplin drop to the crotch,
and as ever there are plenty of brilliant inners and basics to fill my wardrobe with.
On to the showroom and there were some great pieces that didn’t quite come through in the lookbook.
The key leather was this Napoleon meets parchment tailored jacket.
This season also marked the first that Share Spirit started making their jewelry line in 18k gold – I had better get saving.
For more from Share Spirit you can see previous collections here, or just catch me on any off day and I will probably be wearing it.