Friday, January 28, 2011

Snowfield chic, Japanese style

If, like me, you hail from a sunny snow-less place and are planning a skiing holiday, then chances are the snow gear on offer in your hometown will be of a limited range.  And most probably in drab neutral tones, which may be tres chic colour choices for the city streets but somehow look uninspired and a wee bit boring when you sally forth onto the slopes.  Particularly when one becomes surrounded by extremely eye-catching Japanese boarders and skiers, who employ clashing colours and patterns to really gorgeous effect.
My favourite Japanese fashion inspiration has always come from designers such as Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake; who built careers on clothing that is not necessarily colourful but derives interest from the folding and manipulation of solid colour fabric to create sculptural shapes and form through texture.  An artistic extension of origami, itself a Japanese tradition.
However the outfits worn by snowbound Japanese are a completely different but equally inspiring story.
Snow-sporters here dress in the most vivid and exciting colour and pattern combinations, which of course look amazing set against the pure white of snowy slopes. 
Other bonuses?  As well as looking fabulous, such individual looks are a great aid to helping you spot your friends from half a mountain away.  
Need a less shallow impetus to go brights?  The inbuilt safety aspects of brights are another plus.  "Inmate orange" really stands out in the snow and means one is less likely to blend into one's surroundings and be bowled over by an out-of-control newbie.

Speaking of, Japanese ski schools have a kind of weird and slightly embarrassing dress code for adult, yes, these are adult, learner skiers...
I think I would just bow out of the class gracefully in this situation...
This is just a tiny sample of the great outfits I spied out on the slopes, unfortunately getting one's camera out is a bit of a business when skiing, and what's more some of the coolest people out on the slopes are the young snowboarders who are fast and are out of sight as soon as spotted.
Plus I didn't want to be obviously in people's face, taking photos, but was trying to be discreet about it here and not photograph people's faces...  but you can get the idea.  I like the fact that Japanese young men are unafraid to wear shocking pink, lurid purple plaid, neon stripes or to have miniature puppy-dog toys hanging off their backpacks.  Pompoms and furry animal costumes are not considered a threat to one's manhood here.
I admire this.  The girls' ensembles are equally fun.  Hmmmm, perhaps should have left the ski purchasing until we got here... now I want to trade in my boring white pants for, say, something in neon green plaid... 
But at least Sam bought some really cool gloves!


  1. I love your "on-site reporter's" color story on the Japanese slopes. On my trips to Japan, I've always been wow'd by how fashionable all the young women are EVERYWHERE. GORGEOUSLY dressed in beautiful fashions. And the outfits looked stunning on their reed slim size 0 frames. Thanks for sending the travelogue.

  2. Love Sams gloves and all the fabulous photos. It is very hot here at home, it would be better to stay in Japan with the snow

  3. You and I love the same Japanese designers.

    Wow, those clothes are FUN. YES, buy something new!!! I love those paw mittns. :D

  4. This is a fantastic post! with wonderful pictures.
    Will there be a shopping trip? :))))

  5. Interesting and how cute are those paw gloves? It just sounds amazing and thanks for sharing - of all the places I MAY visit one day - I can't imagine that Japanese Ski Slopes would be one of them (especially since I would definitely end up in THAT class!!!) so I appreciate your reports!

  6. what a colourful post! thanks for sharing pics with us! any fabric stores? would love to their fabric!

  7. I have always admired Japanese street style, but didn't realize that it extended to the slopes! As for the required uniform beginners must wear, I'm afraid I would be stuck in it forever.

    Do YOU snowboard?

  8. How fun! Ski slope fashion. I haven't seen this topic before (:

  9. Am I seeing things or is there really a man in a blue bunny suit on the snowfield?

  10. I too am such a big fan of Yohji Yamamoto. His work is incredible!
    That Lilo and Stitch outfit? Oh my gosh! I need one of those right now. haha SO awesome, and totally daring, I love it!