This week saw the start of my blog for Brighton Fashion Week:

Click on the image or continue reading for the full story – I talk about vintage shopping in Tokyo, and focus on Grimoire and dolly-kei! Find out what’s hanging from the ceiling in Grimoire and top suggestions for aspiring dolly girls too.

Tokyo, synonymous since the economic boom of the 1980s with the latest in technology, is undergoing a retro fashion revolution. Vintage clothes have never been more popular and as in Brighton, you can’t turn a corner in the trendy Harajuku and Daikanyama districts of Tokyo without bumping into a tiny vintage shop or someone decked head-to-toe in the fashions of another time and culture.

We’re pretty spoiled when it comes to vintage shops in Brighton – Beyond Retro, To Be Worn Again, Starfish and Kate & Aud to name just a few of the many –  of course I have to mention the lovely Claire who also writes on the Brighton Fashion Week blog about vintage style.

Tokyo too has it’s fair share of vintage sellers and lovers, but what makes the Tokyo vintage experience different is that each shop has it’s own distinct identity and style associated with it. I’ll be taking a look here at Grimoire one of the most popular vintage emporiums in Shibuya. Other iconic vintage stores include Spank!, The Virgin Mary, Cult Party and Sister. Each have their own individual style and legions of fans, and I’ll be looking at them in more detail during the following weeks.

(image credit: Valerie Fujita)

I first stumbled across Grimoire earlier last year – if you can call trekking up four flights of stairs stumbling! The first thing that hits you when entering the tiny store is the sheer amount of clothing stock, trinkets and decorations: think false ivy trailing everywhere, tiny Victorian button-up boots and even a (human?) ribcage hanging from the ceiling. I think that’s the real appeal of places like Grimoire, you’re so immersed in the atmosphere of the shop that you’re quite happy to buy into such a wonderful lifestyle. Now that’s what I call merchandising!

Unsurprisingly, the Grimoire girls Hitomi, Heri and Kaori and their fellow vintage sellers have spawned a fashion following. After all, this is Tokyo – the land where anything can become a cult. The Grimoire signature style, often referred to as dolly style or dolly-kei, has become phenomenally popular over the past year. Drawing its inspiration from everything from Russian folk tales to Medieval tapestry, the Grimoire aficionado favours rich colours, floral motifs, embroidery and touches of religious iconography. Also influenced by street style favourites lolita and mori, dolly girls can usually be found wearing patterned tights, mid-length skirts with antique petticoats, rosaries and flowered head-pieces.

As Grimoire specialises in American and European clothing it’s no wonder that you can also achieve a similar look here in Brighton too. Keep an eye out for patterned dresses (US brand Gunne Sax is a Grimoire favourite) and skirts, embroidered waistcoats, silk blouses and tapestry bags. Keep colours on the darker side, but don’t be afraid to add layers and quirky accessories like old keys, dried flowers and maybe even a crucifix or two.

If Grimoire has tickled your fashion fancy I’d love to hear from you, and if more vintage fashion from Tokyo sounds right up your street then take a look at the vintage tag.

Ja, mata – until next time!


Don’t forget to use the  ‘like’ button and join the facebook group if you’d like to see more from Brighton fashion Week…

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7 Responses to Tokyo Vintage & the Living Dolls

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Retro YouTube. Retro YouTube said: Tokyo Vintage & the Living Dolls | Tokyo Telephone – Your Direct …: Tokyo, synonymous since the economic boom … […]

  2. Lisa says:

    I looooooove GRimoire and I loooooove Vintage! I’m also usually too lazy to actively do it myself, alas. That and where I’m living isn’t exactly teeming with great shopping. 😉
    Having said that, it’s allowing me to be creative and flexible with what I want/like in other ways instead, so yay for that. ^^

  3. Leanne says:

    You already KNOW I’m a fan…just haven’t perfected the look as integrated with my own..but am relishing the challenge!

  4. Tokyo Telephone says:

    Great! We’re really spoiled with vintage shops here: everything from high end to junk! I’m always on the look out for more leather jackets…

    I do like the mystery aspect of vintage shopping, and I agree totally that it allows for more creativity – I love a good mix of old & new!


  5. Tokyo Telephone says:

    Haha! I really enjoy seeing people’s fashion evolution – looking forward to seeing more dolly style from you in the future 🙂


  6. […] asked by them to contribute to such a fun and fresh project! So far, I’ve written about the Grimoire shop & dolly-kei, the colour red in Japanese fashion, and the art of deco to name just a few. I’m really […]

  7. […] love TokyoTelephone’s informative fashion posts, but this past week their blurb on vintage, Grimoire and Dolly Kei had me drooling a little bit extra. Of course, they have lots more on vintage in TKY […]

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