It is Japanese vintage fashion time once again on Tokyo Telephone with thorough look at Meno in Harajuku over the next couple of days. While shops like Grimoire and Grimoire Almadel may be synonymous with fans of Mori and Dolly style Japanese fashion abroad, Meno was the shop that really brought the look to central Harajuku and to a much wider audience, being as it is on the street that it also home to other accesible vintage fashion destinations like BerBerjin, Dog Harajuku, Kinsella and now PIN NAP. The key location in the backstreets of Harajuku, not to mention the events they run where the shop extends out into the street has brought a whole new generation to the Mori style, but it must be said, that they do have a unique take on it which you will be familiar with if you are a follower of street fashion magazines like Fruits.
The Meno look is slightly serious compared to the Cult Party / Virgin Mary look, and incorporates less obviously feminine styling than Grimoire which I suppose broadly draws the distinction between this and dolly-kei as well as the mainstream end of Mori. Meno’s is the classic layers and layers and layers ensemble that really made the mainstream fashion media take notice when this style took off some 5 years ago. Obviously people fixate on the antique doll aspect to the look, and assume some kind of modest classic femininity must be running through the movement, but never forget that is a rebellion against mainstream Japanese femininity that many pundets have likened to punk. The dirty and obviously aged damaged fabrics are a step away from the perfectionism of lolita fashion, the layers that completely cover the body push aside Gyaru trends and the fact that this is a fashion style that many also live the lifestyle of speak volumes of a tribe who want to completely opt out of society and make their own in the process.
For me, Meno embodies that spirit with a complete lifestyle focus to the shop that doesn’t end with the clothes, but invites you to work in the furniture, culture and music associated with the fashion into your life, and after having spent some time in this shop, it does become very tempting.
This is the full-on Meno look and coincidently a fantastic example of the strength that this fashion can enjoy. Banish whimsy and twee frolicking in woods for now (it is an option) – this is how to wear the Meno look for the city.
Obviously there is a wealth of brown leather, sensible hiking shoes and more pastels and off-whites than you could hope for to aid you in putting together your perfect vintage look.
The shop is small, but efficiently split up into vintage of various categories, racks of re-made clothes, new designers (of which Meno is an admirable supporter) and also lifestyle objects and furniture.
The colours are all an easy match, I reckon you could pretty much pair anything with anything from this shop and it would still work.
The mix of premium vintage of very high quality, next to affordable items and tea cups etc make for a really accesible shopping experience, far less full-on than you might expect.
As you head into the back you get to the antique clothing section which is packed with museum quality pieces.
Although if you are like me you are happiest at the front near this cabinet stuffed with antique jewelry.
Here you can see work from a new designer (more of that later).
Like Grimoire the genius of the shop is that it sells a complete vision, right down to perfume – I warn you, it might be a slippery slope.
The make-up that follows the style is relatively muted, which like the clothes tends to avoid stand out splashes of colour that you might associate with dolly-kei and its ilk.
Stand by for part 2 where we will be looking a bit closer at the fashion itself and needless to say we have plenty more Tokyo vintage boutiques to share with you soon.