Sunday, January 2, 2011

Omotesando Hills to Harajuku Dori - Tokyo window shopping

Window shopping is not usually my idea of fun but seeing the contrast between the flashy modern shopping mall at Omotesando Hills and the wacky youth culture of Harajuku Dori was fascinating.
Omotesando Hills was a twinkling wonderland of reflections from the glitter-ball baubles suspended from the roof and the enormous Swarovski Christmas tree.
On either side of the stairwell below the tree were showcases featuring elaborately decorated cakes and images of the chefs who had created them.

My favourite outlet was a very elegant homewares shop that sold a delightful array of tableware and red, white and gold paper decorations like the one at the bottom left of this picture which I was very tempted to add to my own Christmas tree.

A few doors away Carol Quarini photographed this shop dedicated to dogs apparel; coats, hats, dresses and jewellery

From Omotesando Hills we headed towards Harajuku Dori to take in the youth culture.

I was already finding 'Christmas' in Japan a slightly strange experience when I came across this window display featuring a neon skull and cross bones surrounded by a Christmas wreath - definitely very peculiar.

I was rather more taken with the use of lights inside large, drilled, bamboo canes as a local variation on the traditional Western fairy lights.

Harajuku Dori and Takeshita Dori are the heart of Tokyo's youth culture district. According to one of the guide books; shops here sell a most extraordinary blend of goods reflecting the Japanese notion of "cute", "cool and American" and "rebellious British". In other words a strange mixture of Hello Kitty, hip-hop and the infamous British punk. As for the shoppers; well, any form of fancy dress goes.
On seeing the window display of dresses (above) Beverly Ayling-Smith commented that they were very 'Greyson Perry'.

Back on one of the more main streets we came across a large street stall selling one-off, handmade clothes from recycled materials.
They may have been sold under canvas but there was nothing cheap about these unique items, the dresses being about £400.

I'm not sure that the stocking neck tie would catch on in the UK but I loved the multi-layered dresses.

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