Interview with J – Part One

This week’s interview is one with my very sweet friend J – who has one of the most amazing closets, ever. She has one of largest collections of Chanel I’ve ever seen (also on the top of that list is the lovely Larkie), and also has a wide array of drop dead pieces from an array of other brands. J took all these photos with her iPad and believe me, she photographed probably only a small percentage of her entire collection. There were so many fabulous items already though, that I decided to split up this interview into two parts like last week’s. So please enjoy meeting the lovely J below!

Who are you? Where do you live, and what do you do?

My name is J, I live in Osaka, Japan. I am Japanese by birth but grew up in the US. I have been back living in Japan for the past couple of years, to work in my family business, which is medical related.

I know that one of your major, major loves is Chanel! Can you share more? 

Chanel was definitely my first love as a little girl. Seeing old photos of Coco Chanel with her infamous tweed jacket and pearls and cuffs kind of sealed the future for me; that’s what I wanted to look like when I matured (I must have been around 5th grade or something). That also was a fashion awakening moment for me.

Until then, all I wanted to do was to dress like a (male) rock star LOL After that, I started to flip through Vogue and other fashion magazines instead of hard rock magazines( I loved Guns n’ Roses, Metallica, Red Zeppelin, Black Sabbath to name a few), and soon discovered the passion I felt for fashion. One of my all time favorite shows is the first (or second I think) show John Galliano did under his own name back in mid 90’s.  He had models dressed up in 40’s Dior hourglass suits in sky-high heels with glossy black (or blond) curls that were so prominent back then with red lipstick, each of them posed provocatively around dancing poles(!) with a cigarette holder in their hands.

That show along with the old images I’ve seen of Coco Chanel basically carved my style forever.

 Now I know Chanel was your first love…but what other brands were very passionate about? 

After Chanel there came the glorious Kimono collections Yohji Yamamoto did back in mid 90’s for a couple of seasons. I was instantly in love with traditional kimonos being cut and deconstructed into modern, funky, minimalist look. As I always have a tendency to collect nothing but the label of my obsession, I was a faithful disciple for a few years. I almost exclusively wore black, was always in a pair of engineer boots, and in long, deconstructed avant-garde clothes.

My next love was Nicholas Ghesquiere of Balenciaga. I first discovered his clothes back in 2000, and collected their clothes and bags until 2005, as after their magnificent 05FW collection, I lost interest in where the label was going. Within these times, there were a few other designers that I fell in love with that I bought. Belgian avant-garde designers such as Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, and Martin Margiela are those I still love and buy from time to time.

Rick Owens has been my major love since 2000, and while the collecting has stopped promptly when I got really into Chanel RTW mainly due to lack of funds and closet space (I already have a vast collection of Rick Owens), I still love and wear what I bought back in 2000.

What are some more recent brands that you’ve collected? How has your style changed over the years and how is it now? 

My most recent love before going full on with Chanel was Lanvin. I was madly in love with all things Lanvin from their RTW to shoes to bags. And I adore Alber Elbaz.

My style changes depending on my mood of the day, but if I had to describe my style, I would say my three major looks are: classic with a twist, luxe bohemian, and rock n’ roll with avant-garde flair.

My likes and dislikes in terms of fashion haven’t really changed since the first time I saw Coco Chanel’s photos. But as years went by, I can no longer sacrifice comfort in the name of fashion, so I can’t wear anything heavy, or too constructive, or downright uncomfortable. So even though I still love what Balenciaga did back in 2005 FW, I can no longer wear Nicholas’ amazing creations.

Another love I have to mention is Nigel Preston. Although the designer himself has passed away and it’s now being designed by his wife, the lightness and the supple, luxurious texture can’t be beat!

Please share with us some of your favorite items! Why do you love them so?

I think the two things I most covet out of what I have in my closet have to be my Chanel 2007 Lucky Charms Flap in black in the large size, and my Chanel 11A black cashmere cape with a Griproix button closure from Pariz-Byzance collection. The Lucky Charms had been something I’d been wanting and looking for over a year without much success, and I came across it at this resale shop here brand new! I absolutely adore the charms on these flaps, they’re so intricate and unique.

The 11A cape was an item I had fallen in love with ever since I saw the glorious Paris-Byzance collection photos. Everything about the cape is perfect sans the weight – the thickness (it’s pretty thick), the shape, the Griproix button…I call it my Sherlock Holmes’ cape. I’m a jacket/coat freak, and I have a gazillion jackets and coats, but this one has to be one of my favs!

Now could you please share some of your most worn, best value per wear items?

It’s probably my black caviar M/L Chanel flap with silver hardware, as that’s what I normally carry to work everyday with either a briefcase or a tote, and it’s the bag I grab when I’m running out of the door running errands!

And of course my Chanel jackets. I wear them almost everyday to work, and since I have a lot of functions/work related events to go to, I get a lot of mileage out of them.

I love how she included all the button details – I love Chanel buttons but I think J loves them even more! I hope you enjoyed reading Part 1 of this interview – check back tomorrow for the second installment of J’s interview!

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  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Just awesome! I think – I am jealous! 😀


  • Reply
    Sabrina T.
    November 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    lovely interview and that Chanel jacket is soo chic, I die!
    new on mine..kiss

    Patchwork à Porter

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Wowwww I think my eyes glazed over about halfway through that…such an amazing collection of so many gorgeous pieces. My fav would have to be that Lucky Charms flap *love*

  • Reply
    Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    November 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    What I want to do is to live in her closet! I'm a jacket addict so I covet pretty much EVERYTHING she owns.

  • Reply
    Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    November 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    What I want to do is to live in her closet! I'm a jacket addict so I covet pretty much EVERYTHING she owns.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Seriously how shallow last few interviews are ooking at this enormous collections of Loubs or Chanel. Don't you realize that majority of people who read are average people who can not afford to have full closet of Chanel. And what can you learn about constructing your closet from these people? They can buy whatever they want.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Love, love, love everything! She had such a beautiful collection. I loved reading about her inspirations! Thanks for another great interview! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Wow! Now that's what I call a closet. The jackets and purses are enough to make you swoon! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    @Anonymous I understand your frustrations and I myself can't afford to have closets like this. However I have to disagree with the shallow part- the women who I feature here are very accomplished and their closets and collection are just one dimension of their life. I love looking at their closets and hearing their thoughts on fashion because a) yes they can buy whatever they like, yet they choose these things, and b) it's great eye candy!

    I understand your point though and if there's anyone that you'd like to see or that you think would be a good interview subject, please let me know either here or email me 🙂

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    loved this post, so interesting

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Can I please make friends with all your fabulous friends? Love her already!

  • Reply
    signature mix
    November 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    So much incredible, vintage Chanel. Amazing interview as always.

  • Reply
    Call me M
    November 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    She has amazing taste and an amazing closet.
    And yes, I agree, most of us can not afford these things, but it's definitely a great eye candy! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    what an outstanding closet! i'm envious of the tweed!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Wow, I think I'd wear the longer Chanel jacket with the gold braided trim every single week it's so gorgeous. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Elle Sees
    November 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I think she has great taste too!

  • Reply
    DSK Steph
    November 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Her bags are so unique!

  • Reply
    Chic in Vancity
    November 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Great interview! Those Chanel jackets are impeccable! Love it!
    Bella xo

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Katherine, I understand the thing about eye candy and I love to look at beautiful things too but I enjoyed your earlier interviews more than few of the latest. I know it can be challenging to capture more than one dimension of these women life but you did manage to do it in earlier interviews.
    These people may not have chanel closet but they do have a unique style:

  • Reply
    Ale e Elis
    November 16, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Everything is so beautiful!!!
    I love the red jacket on the first photo!!!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    @Anonymous That's fair and I understand – I think the fault lies with me in not asking the right questions lately and not with the interview subjects who are always kind enough to share their time and photos. Blair is super busy right now (though I'd love to interview her one day!!) and I will definitely send an email over to Lilliana whose site I recently discovered!

    If you have any other people/bloggers you come across please feel free to contact me anytime with suggestions 🙂

  • Reply
    amy b.s.
    November 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    you just can't go wrong with chanel.

  • Reply
    Virginie's Cinema
    November 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Wowsa, so many beautiful textures and colours in J's closet!!

    Virginie ♥

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    All so gorgeous! I would have loved to see pictures of her wearing the clothes xoxo

  • Reply
    the Blonde @ Stylish3
    November 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    I am in awe of all that Chanel! The black coat with gold trim – seriously??? That's any girl's dream.

    Thanks for the eye candy!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Wow. Thats awesome. Coco Chanel was one of my inspiratons as well…I wish I could afford all that.

  • Reply
    Bravoe Runway
    November 16, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I was just at Chanel 2 weeks ago and saw that cape coat J has! It is absolutely stunning!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    This is amazing. Chanel <3

  • Reply
    fashion kats
    November 16, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    lovely pieces!! I love classic pieces!

  • Reply
    Ash Louise
    November 16, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Um… that was a great interview… but I stinkin' LOVED the clothes you girls picked 🙂 My favorite though was the red chanel bag.
    I wish I had one of those!

    Have a great Wednesday.
    (and thanks for hoping I'd feel better… the days almost over and I hope tomorrow will be a little calmer… thanks for asking 🙂

  • Reply
    The Tiny Closet
    November 16, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Wow, what an amazing collection!

  • Reply
    keepsakes. etc
    November 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    nice classic stuff. I'm goin to Osaka next week! I keep an eye on a full on chic Chanel girl =)

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 2:34 am

    Oh she has really really great taste! It is sweet to get inspired by a Chanel tweed suit.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 3:07 am

    J has an awesome collection of Chanel outfits. I am loving that cape, coat with braided detail and lucky charms flap purse. Truly amazing! Thanks J for sharing and thank you Katherine for letting her guest post. May you ladies have a wonderful evening. 😀 I can't wait to read Part 2!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 3:19 am

    That cape…swoon!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 6:01 am

    i love your blog, and reading it — i've been so M I A. school -___- keep it up!!! love CHANEL!!


  • Reply
    Miss Kwong
    November 17, 2011 at 6:16 am

    wow i love her very classy items. and the gold chanel bag is to die for!

    Follow me on:
    Miss Kwong – Art and Fashion

  • Reply
    Chic 'n Cheap Living
    November 17, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Oh my awesomeness. Swoon over those jackets and the Chanel lucky charms bag rocks!

  • Reply
    Kate L.
    November 17, 2011 at 11:35 am

    GORGEOUS!!! I wish to have the same closet:)

    Fashion Cat

  • Reply
    November 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I love this blog!!! I especially love the interviews. Great job katherine! Although, i agree that these are difficult times for many people, this IS a fashion blog…lets not get too crazy serious here. I for one, LOVE, getting to peek inside the amazing closets of these accomplished women! Kudos to them!! Let's not get judgemental by calling them shallow…

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 12:48 am

    I do love the fact that some of the women you interviewed so far are from Purseforum. The women in there have such insatiable tastes and have things I could only dream of.

    Suggestions for other blogs? I love Nikki's blog:

    She's very well-off from my understanding and also lives in the Bay Area. But she's living proof that lots of money does not instantly give you style. She buys affordable pieces (no Birkins, Chanel, or Pradas here) and she always looks so incredible!!

    On a side note, it would be nice if you could interview women that have great bodies and how they maintain them. Nikki has a few workout tips that are inspiring. I'm sure there may be others that would be willing to share theirs. It's true that when you hit your 30s, things seem to go downhill physically unless you do some maintenance. 😉 A lot of the people you interviewed seemed pretty slender and toned, e.g. Jean, R, and you too! xoxo

    Good job with the interviews Kat! Your blog is becoming more distinct because of your interviews with these amazing individualistic women. I am sur eas you go through the major phases in your life, e.g pregnancy, kids, etc. Your blog and interviews will expand further.

  • Reply
    La Professionnelle
    November 24, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Such beautiful Chanel RTW!
    If I move back to Paris next year I plan on going RTW crazy at consignment shops. –Unless I get a $$$$ job over here and then I can go RTW crazy at Chanel 😀

  • Reply
    Interview with J – Part 2 | Feather Factor
    May 7, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    […] with J – Part 2 Nov 172011   Hi everybody! I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of meeting J yesterday. Today is Part 2 with some more beautiful Chanel and Lanvin goodies and a […]

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