Biz loved all of the Shibuya shops, but why shouldn’t she? Biz is 17 years old—a perfect match for the energy of Shibuya. A family from our neighborhood has been in Tokyo for several days that overlapped our trip, so Biz was able to explore some stores with her friend Monica. They had a great time but she couldn’t wait to go back with me. She said she wanted to show me everything, but I think she just wanted me to buy everything!
Matsu Maru was our first stop and it was as jam-packed with young girls as it was with clothes and racks to hold them. We looked at crochet tops as loud music thumped and blared. Crochet is everywhere here, in clothing and as an embellishment on handbags, especially those made of straw. Luckily, Japanese girls are smaller than my daughter, so none of the tops fit Biz and my charge card stayed in my purse.
Lemon-Ups had ribbed knit muscle tanks with irregular holes in them that gave the impression that they were moth-eaten. I just said NO to that style, but as I did I was reminded of my mother saying NO to cut-offs many years ago. Have I become my mother?
At Pool Side, Turquoise metallic leather sandals caught my eye, not Biz’s. She is not ready for Turquoise metallic leather. I am. Dea Dia went the Turquoise route for sandals, too, this time in a fairly high pile terry cloth that did not look like it would feel good on your feet.
Heaven and Earth had skirts and pants in a completely new style. The look was layered, like one jean or jean skirt over another. The inner garment was only about 12 inches long. The full pant or skirt started about five or six inches below the waistband of the liner. It’s easier to see than to describe, so check out the picture below. Another good look: satin ribbon and lace embellished denim skirts.
Shanit Shibuya, a tiny hole in the wall, was Biz’s favorite. Clothing and décor items are from India, Thailand, Bali, Nepal and Indonesia. I loved the T-shirts from Thailand with designs inspired by tattoos, but there were also resist skirts, more crochet tops, silver rings, cut tin objects, carved and painted wood and lots more. Watanahe Chan spoke some of the best English we heard in Tokyo. She and her colleague helped us buy a ring for Alex and a hemp wallet for Biz, then took the time to tell us a bit about the store. Some clothing is hand made by the staff, adding to the store’s unique character. Other pieces are designed for them by Mr. Mori and Mr. Oguro Kuro, who we were not able to meet but wished we could—both Biz and I loved their designs and wished we could tell then so.
It was hard to drag my daughter out of Shanit. I wanted to see some of the department stores and we ultimately did get to two of them. The contrast was remarkable. The department store shop concept formats felt dull and lifeless in comparison to the originality of the individual shops on the street. The next time we are in Tokyo, I know I will still visit department stores but I’ll save most of my time for trend-spotting in the little shops.