Interview with J – Part Two

Hi everybody! I hope you enjoyed meeting J yesterday. Today is part two with some more beautiful Chanel and Lanvin goodies and a ton of great insights from J. I especially found her thoughts  on the differences between United States vs. Japan luxury markets fascinating, along with how her style has evolved over time with her needs for comfort. Enjoy!

What percent of your items do you buy on sale, versus full price? Do you ever regret paying full price?

Now, I only pay full price on items I absolutely cannot live without…so the percentage is probably about 20%. Especially now that I’m only buying Chanel, I often wait until the sales or for them to pop up on eBay.

When I was still building my non-Chanel RTW collection I paid full price maybe 60-70% of the time. But I have a friend who is a buyer for a multi-label store that carries brands like Lanvin, Rick Owens, Balmain etc. in Italy who helped me get what I wanted at a discount, so I suppose it’s not really paying full price…

What are some brands that you think are overpriced?

Balmain and Hermes! I actually love a lot of designs from Balmain and would actually love a pair of Balmain leather pants but I would never shell out $3K-5K for a pair of leather pants! Their cut is sublime, but I would rather get another Chanel jacket for that kind of money.  Isabel Marant is doing a very similar look at less than a third of what you would pay for Balmain.As for Hermes, no matter how long it takes for one artisan to create a whole Birkin or how wonderful their leather is, no bag is worth $10,000 and above in my book. It’s just way beyond the price cap I have for bags. I would much rather spend that kind of money on fine jewelry!

You used to live in the US, and now you live in Japan. Could you contrast some of the different attitudes, general cultural norms around shopping/luxury goods between the US and Japan? What have been the biggest differences you noticed?

In Japan, luxury goods are widely accessible to everyone, probably due to the payment system you can use on luxury items over here. Credit card payments can be divided up to 24 payments at the point of purchase, and most stores liaison with credit companies in a way where customers can receive loans from the liaised credit company.I think this system allows practically everyone to purchase luxury items, so you see more luxury items on the streets here than anywhere else. I also see Hermes Birkins and Kellys as much as I see Louis Vuitton in Japan.

I think the biggest difference between the US and Japan is that people ultimately seek their own styles in the US whereas in Japan, people follow the trend more rigorously.  I think this stems from the cultural differences of the two countries; individuality is more valued in the US but harmony as a whole is more valued in Japan.

Another shot of a gorgeous cream jacket and gold Chanel bag

What are some of the general fashion/shopping tips and lessons that you have learned the hard way over the years, that you would like to share with readers?

Always try to create a mental image of as many outfits/occasions as possible using the item you’re thinking of buying. If you can think of more than 2, it’s a winner. Otherwise, it’ll just sit in your closet unused.

I like garments that are very design orientated and ornate. Often times, they’re difficult to wear, or downright painful after a couple of hours of wearing them. I have learned over the years that comfort is one of the most important factors in choosing a garment.  In my Balenciaga-loving-era, I bought so many amazing “runway pieces” that don’t translate well in the real world, and took a lot of loss selling them off on eBay. I used to love pieces that were really out there, pieces that you could only see on the runway.  But those really “out there”  pieces were usually difficult to wear/heavy/uncomfortable on top of screaming out what year they were made.I still buy things that are really different and ornate, but I only buy things that are comfortable to wear. If it’s a bag, I tend to buy classic styles/looks with amazing details or colors that stand out.

Have you ever spent a lot of time collecting/obsessing over an item or brand, upon which looking back, you’re like – “What was I thinking?”

Not really. Ever since I first got into fashion, I’ve always had objects/labels of obsession, but never really regretted them.  Each obsession represents an era of my life, and though I often no longer own the items that I coveted back then, I still think fondly of them.

I love Japanese beauty products! What do you think are the must have items for people from the US or abroad to pick up while in Japan? How about items in general?

I have super delicate allergic skin, so I can only use certain skin care products that don’t contain harmful substances such as paraben or  ethanol. I use skin care products that are developed by a dermatologist called Adjuvant and also I use Mario Badescu but that’s not Japanese!  All of my make-up is from either Bobbi Brown or Nars and I’ve never ventured out to try make-up products from Japanese companies.As for other stuff, I think all the undergarments Uniqlo comes out with for summer (Safafine) and winter (Heat tech) are amazing. I cannot live without their camisoles with the built-in bras!

Finally, please share something surprising about yourself that!

I’m super grouchy and easily irritated at home but my husband is the only who gets to see that side of me! (Imagine how special he feels…).

I hope you all enjoyed meeting J. I really liked hearing about the evolution of her style, and how she has gradually moved towards comfort (something that has definitely happened with me as well). Thank you very much J for taking the time to photograph some of your closet for us!

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  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Loved getting to see all the Chanel! I'm so nosy, I always love peeking into someone else s closet. Love from Brooklyn ~jen

  • Reply
    Ugly Duckling
    November 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    This has made me desperately want the Proenza PS1 bag now.

    Looks awesome. Eurgh I need A LOT more money.

    Amelia @ UGLY DUCKLING xxx

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I loved her take on US/Japan fashion. It's interesting that their credit runs with payments, unlike ours. It's definitely different since not everyone is able to afford luxury here.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Very interesting read about cultural/fashion differences between U.S. and Japan. She seems like a lovely lady and what an amazing Chanel handbag collection. Makes me want a Reissue even if I don't think it suits my look or lifestyle! Great interview, Katherine.

  • Reply
    amy b.s.
    November 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    i thought this part of the interview was so interesting. plus, of course the photos are fantastic!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Oh my goodness, so many lovely Chanel pieces! I don't know if you've ever seen the movie on Coco Chanel, but it's awesome!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Cue more drooling haha. I absolutely love love LOVE your interviews and eagerly await them every week! That being said though, I love your outfit posts as well and blog in general haha

  • Reply
    Chic 'n Cheap Living
    November 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Sigh just love. I really identify with her style. Her statement about Hermes bags really struck me and is kinda true right (well exotics though may cost more). Of course saying that I just bought my first Hermes GM shawl as an early birthday present. Style evolves in a good way!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Wow I totally agree about the differences in attitude to style in US v Japan as I think that pretty much sums up most of the Orient. It's changing though in some areas faster than others.

    I just fell in love with all of J's Reissue bags plus that divine cream jacket. You can definately tell her pieces are Luxe comfort!
    I think as we mature, there's an inevitable move towards comfort for real life than pure fashion.
    Thank you!

  • Reply
    signature mix
    November 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    OMG more vintage Chanel! Love that she said, "Each obsession represents an era of my life." I can totally relate.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    that Chanel office look is so classic and beautiful. And that leather jacket? Seriously one of the most beautiful pieces of clothing I have ever seen

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Love all the different Chanel buttons xoxo

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    That was really interesting to read about Japanese culture and how they follow trends more closely! I guess I've always thought of the Harajuku area and the individuals there!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    wow a payment plan for luxury items? I need to move to Japan!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    oh man I'm am dying right now, your collection is amazing!


  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    how interesting – especially on the payment part in japan vs the us. great interview!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I loved reading about her take on Japan and USfashion and that the japanese all tend to follow the trend whilst US Like to be unique!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    hi, katherine!

    you have such an awesome blog. i love all of the purses in the pics! 🙂

    thanks so much for following me. i am following you on gfc and also on twitter. 🙂

    hope to see more of your posts.

    have a great day!


  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    oh my good… the chanel

  • Reply
    Elle Sees
    November 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    This is amazing! I don't really own designer Nything.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    OK, I'll take yesterday's cape and today's leather jacket please. I really need to learn how to shop on EBay.

  • Reply
    Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    November 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Even though Chanel clothes won't suit my current lifestyle, it doesn't stop me from lusting after them. J has such an amazing collection.

  • Reply
    Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    November 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Even though Chanel clothes won't suit my current lifestyle, it doesn't stop me from lusting after them. J has such an amazing collection.

  • Reply
    Call me M
    November 17, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    The 2nd part of the interview was equally amazing. Wow!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 12:22 am

    omgosh she has the most amazing collection of chanel RTW jackets!! I DIE!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 12:39 am

    This was an excellent interview. I enjoyed both days and learned so much. Love how she discussed the differences in both US and Japan culture. I found that very interesting and so true. That cream Chanel jacket is gorgeous. Thank you both! 😀

  • Reply
    November 18, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Great interview! She's so right about Hermes being overpriced. No bag is worth 10k! Thanks for commenting 🙂

    Ivory xx

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 1:01 am

    ^I don't know..I'm sure if she could get her hands on just one, she might just buy it. Hermes are hard to come by these days. The waiting list is crazy. Chanel purses are not cheap anymore either. Just a medium size flap is worth $4000 (half the Hermes' bag's cost).

  • Reply
    November 20, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Dang.. Lovely pieces!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2011 at 2:07 am

    I did really enjoy this interview and the photos of her lovely pieces! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Hannah, Lost in wishful thinking
    November 23, 2011 at 3:51 am

    all the buttons are so so lovely! especially the bird ones.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Another great interview!!! I remember visiting Japan two summers ago and instantly felt drawn to their fashion culture. It's interesting to see how they different from what we have here in the US.

  • Reply
    Black is the New Black
    November 23, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    how fab – love J's style!

  • Reply
    Yellow Dots » Feather Factor
    May 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    […] on a different topic – I hope you all enjoyed J’s interview yesterday. A commenter shared a few suggestions for other interviews they might like to see and I […]

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