What do I want for Christmas this year? To be honest, not all that much. I don’t really need anything and while I do always appreciate receiving presents, when someone just “gives” you something it can take away half the relationship you have when you “earn” something by hunting it down, meeting designers, fans and making friends along the way and maybe even negotiating a final favorable price right at the end. I know that is not a particularly accesible vision of how consumption “ought” to work, but when it does happen it is a really special experience. I will always wax lyrical about how the early silver designers like Gabor used to work who formed personal relationships with their clients and made the purchase feel like an exchange, rather than a transaction. Mercifully, those days are still around in the Gabor / Gaboratory world and my Christmas present to myself this year is an early 90s Gabor necklace that I picked up from a fellow collector at a private sale earlier this year. Just like the “good old days” it was an exchange between two people who loved and appreciated every single aspect of the item being exchanged with money and commercialism being a far away after-thought.
To my mind there are only a handful of silver brands in Tokyo that operate in such a way, the king of them all being the friendliest Ebisu biker you will ever meet – Stop Light.
Now that I would not say no to! But for me it is not the cold process of owning something like this from such a talented designer that would make me treasure this, it would be the relationship I would continue to have with the guy who made it and the fact that I could pop into the shop and have a chat and a drink with the guy whenever I liked.
So I guess first on my wish list is something with real character and individuality as far away from the mass-produced pair item frippery that shops try and push on you this time of year:
The other option when thinking about a Christmas wish list is the so-called “grail” items. The items that are so far out of your reach that you dream of tripping over at a decent price.
Mine would have to be:
Chiseled cross from Gaboratory – for me this just sums up the early aesthetic of Gabor. It is crude, weighs a ton, will easily out-live you and no matter what you did to this it would always have the same allure. For fans of the Gabor it is also about knowing that each and every mark on the piece is made by the man himself with nothing but a good chisel and brute force – amazing, but try finding one…
Likewise, this is one of my favorite early items from Gaboratory (the maltese cross marks this one made recently, i.e. since his untimely passing). There is something throughly creepy about this blank face, its mouth open as if about to speak and the frown alluding to something quite disconcerting. There are many stories amongst fans over what was the inspiration and meaning of this ring, and it was a design the man himself wore often. For me it always struck me as one of the most personal designs he ever produced and if I ever find an original it will be going right on my finger!
A bit of a change of pace now with these Rick Owens Turbo trainers. It is a design I have always loved for its ability to change the shape of conventional male footwear, which unlike the vast options available to women always seems to be a bit restrictive. Rick Owens is one of the few designers offering male feet new silhouettes and these are just amazing. I did try on a lower pair at a good 80 percent off at a private sale earlier this year, but they weren’t the high type seen above so I held onto my yen…
I have also always admired KMRii’s bags and they are not all that expensive nor hard to get hold of. It is just a case of finding the perfect one with the right mix of details, tiny pockets and studding. I will know when I find it.
The next item I can’t show you as I have no image to hand, but a true grail from the current season is the Yohji Yamamoto x Justin Davis A/W 2011 coats. The coat I tried on in the showroom with the Justin Davis sterling silver pentagram buttons was simply sublime and knowing that the pair of them are such good friends just adds to the experience nicely (which is a nice segway of being able to post my favorite image of Justin, Yohji and Limi) –
Unfortunately, I sincerely doubt any of the above will be under our modest Christmas tree in Tokyo Telephone towers so in lieu of that I would just be happy to accept some time off to get round to some custom work I have been planning for a while now. I am happiest when I am surrounded by pliers, studs and paint, and take rare delight in things breaking or tearing because I know that is when my needles can come out and I can start having fun.
So I will be happy to take some time off over Christmas to get my hands dirty, a real pleasure indeed!
I suppose the best thing about being given a gift is when it is something you would never buy for yourself. So perhaps next on my wish list would be something that pushes my boundaries – case in point:
I have been moving my silhouette lower and lower all this year till I am regularly at the level above. But would I be daring enough to go this low?
The nice thing about living in Tokyo is knowing that I could probably get away with the above without turning too many heads. But would I be comfortable in an out and out dress? Only one way to find out…
But sometimes I do think it would be nice to go a completely different direction that pushed me more towards street level fashion like Juvenile Hall Rollcall:
I would really appreciate the chance to have a completely different look and I just know that I will never shake myself out of the path I am currently on, so maybe that would be the best gift for me – a fashion challenge to force me to expand my horizons.