It is difficult to imagine a time when Host fashion was not utterly synonymous with Dior Homme suits (or imitations thereof), but I do assure you there was a time when the look was a little more varied than the uniform is has become these days. One thing that hasn’t changed though is where the hosts, or at least the successful hosts, are getting their clothes from: Kawano in Shinjuku. This place has been at the cutting edge of Japanese men’s street fashion since the 50s, importing the most coveted foreign brands to the Shinjuku crowd as well as stocking domestic status brands like Roen and Roar. Their success lies in listening to their customers and stocking items at every price level – they will stock an original Dior Suit for the No1 ranking host in Kabuki-cho, they will stock their own take on it for the up-and-comer and they will provide the dirt cheap outlet one for the Catch destined to work the streets indefinitely.
As the Host fashion went mainstream in the mid 2000s, the already blinged out Hosts started looking for something to mark them out from the guys picking their suits up cheap from 109-2 and once again Kawano was listening. Having already offered customising services in the past to get the branded imported suits to fit the Japanese physique they started their own line: Sos Te Nuto and boy did they run with it. Anyone who has made it up to the second floor of Kawano to see these suits in person will tell tales of the level of gorgeous excess that awaits, but trying to get any pictures of them has been like trying to invent a new colour. Till now anyway…
Continue reading for a look these stunning suits in all their Swarovski glory. Gasp at the details. Admire the excess that most men would flinch from – even on their wedding day.
I do find it amusing that they have chosen a foreign model with such restrained hair for a brand that mostly sells to the big haired Host crowd. But that is Japanese lookbooks for you…
Love the draping on the shirt as well as those laced lapels.
Only in Kawano would this fabric be deemed “toned down”.
Hooded suit jackets have been huge in 109 Mens this season as well.
The quality of material holds up as well – they don’t hold back on the silks and lace when it does turn up.
One day I will wear a white suit, one day…
Love the shape of this waistcoat – fantastic.
This season you can definitely feel their influence in Buffalo Bobs’ Crystal line of suits, especially the hooded suit jackets which a lot of street wear brands have been flinging out onto the streets of late. But other than that and a couple of other small flourishes this season is very much business as usual for Sos Te Nuto, as well it should given that this look has pretty much been taken to its logical conclusion about 5 years ago. Now it can sit comfortably among the other “uniforms” of the industry along with the Kyabakura.
Outside of the Hosts this is pretty much only picked up by the Tokyo party boy set who want to flash some cash on an outfit they might only wear once or twice. A complete outfit can be yours for around 100000 yen including all the corsages, custom Swarovski buttons, custom Rhinestone work and even your name spelt out in sequins should you desire. Alternatively if just want the look and don’t mind the quality of materials going down along with the price tag you can head into the Kawano basement and pick up one of the rack for 30000 yen, even with all the bells and whistles included.
Kawano will always be a very special place for me in Shinjuku and even though I do not get the opportunity to wear my host gear these days it reminds me of very fun tanned times whenever I walk past. Likewise these Sos Te Nuto suits are quite rightly a Shinjuku institution, and no-matter how they may be scorned by certain people, it is a testament to the wonder of Tokyo that they exist at all.