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!