If Six Was Nine is an amazing, though somewhat underground brand owned by Maniac Corporation. Beloved by Fergie, Lenny Kravitz, and Keith Richards (just to name a few), the brand features entirely handmade pieces with heavy distressing, screenprinting, unusual embellishment, leatherwork, and sublimation dyeing techniques in their clothing. (Price points range from $280 for an extremely simple cover-up to $3400+ for a leather jacket.) They don’t lend any pieces out to magazines for photographing and the parent company does not allow any photos of their boutiques, adding to the whole aura of inaccessibility. And yet, people somehow find their way to the few hidden boutiques that sell this line, in search of the amazing, rock-star-worthy ensembles that the brand puts out.
Besides clothing, if six was nine also creates one-of-a-kind furnishings and home wares with a gothic edge.
I’ve actually written about one place to buy this line, Bedrock Boutique, before here, and I tend to stop by the shop every time I’m in Tokyo. And it’s always like entering a time warp to some dank dungeon, filled with sparkly bones and shredded couture.
Besides the 3 boutiques owned by the Maniac Corporation in Japan, If Six Was Nine is also available at FarFetch.com.
Yup – Japanese fashion (both street style and designer lines) is one of the best-kept fashion secrets in the world – and now the New York Times is in on it. (Thanks Jenn for the tip!! Luv ya!) I’ve often lamented on this blog that very few Japanese lines are available for purchase outside of Japan (and nearby Asia, if that) – and there’s a dearth of information regarding Japanese brands as well. (In the U.S. for instance, almost every company out there knows: no website, no company. In Japan, so few companies actually have their own multi-page website – and if they do, often it’s just a landing page, poorly-made, or impossible to navigate! They’re slo-o-o-wly catching up with the times, though. So strange from a country so technologically-advanced in many other ways…and fashion/style sites in a blog format? Still on their way. There’s no Japanese FashionToast just yet.;-)
Very few established brands actually participate in the annual renamed Japan Fashion Week (I can’t believe I’ve missed going to NINE of them already!) – and very few venture out beyond the country’s borders, let alone sell online (both domestically and abroad). There is very little cohesiveness to the industry as a whole – and the Japanese government has once again royally screwed things up by appointing 3 “style ambassadors” to introduce other nations to their idea of “Japanese style.” (Said “ambassadors” are working to spread the Lolita style, the secondhand mashup style, and the “schoolgirl” style – such a tiny facet of the incredibly diverse fashion landscape that is Japan. )
But I’m sure you’re already familiar with style sites such as Dropsnap, Bijin-Tokei, Japanese Streets, Style-Arena, where you can see thousands of images of Japanese street style in all their uncategorizeable glory. (And if you have a hankering to buy Japanese-style fashions but don’t want to deal with the mess of international forwarding, try Japanese-style/Asian-trendy shopping sites that do ship internationally, like AsiaJam, TokyoStyle, and YesStyle!)
But by and large Japan’s up-and-coming brands and stylish in-the-know people keep to themselves, according to the article below.
I love that the article mentions furfur – a brand I’m in love with (and that Jane from SeaofShoes purchased some items from when she was in Tokyo in July of last year)…I just sniffed out where you can purchase items from them online: at nuan and from Rakuten – for the reader who emailed me re: where to purchase their stuff. (nuan only ships to an address in Japan but with Rakuten, depending on the seller, they may ship overseas. And there are forwarding companies that can forward parcels overseas for you to get around this little annoyance.) But Jane’s fabulous cardigan that she posted on Sea of Shoes is nowhere to be found!! Japanese fashion has a super-quick turnover. (An ambitious DIY, perhaps??)
But I was not familiar with the other brand the article above mentions: Garcia Marquez Gauche. Hmm…must investigate more.
And another update on one of my fave Japanese brands: if six was nine and L.G.B. (I wrote about them here) has collaborated for the costume design on the film Filth and Wisdom (2008), directed by Madonna. Yes, that Madonna!! I had no idea – must rent film NOW.
photo from Sea of Shoes
I had never heard of the boutique Bedrock until Jane from Sea of Shoes wrote a post about the boutique and the amazing Japanese brand if six was nine (owned by the Maniac Coporation). (She posted a photo of herself wearing a fabulous one-armed jacket on said post that I was drooling over for quite some time. So since I was in Tokyo I decided to check out the Bedrock boutique in Omotesando Hills. They carry (among other high-end lines) Ann Demulemeester, Givenchy, Rick Owens, LGB (apparently a more affordable Maniac Corporation line, with a plain tank top clocking in at about $80), and of course, the lovely if six was nine.
(sorry for the poor photos; you can’t take photos inside and this is all that was on their website. This is the antechamber you enter after going down the staircase. You can see the blue squidlike thing covering the light fixture on the left.)
As per Jane’s instructions, I located the Forbidden Fruit Cafe in Omotesando Hills – and passed through the cafe, towards the back door. Bedrock boutique is neither marked with signage or name on the outside, and does not appear in the shop listing for Omotesando Hills West Building. The back doorway from the cafe is also unmarked, and for a brief moment I thought I was heading into their kitchen or something, but the lady behind the counter game me a nod. I descended down a perforated metal spiral staircase to the basement, where a dark antechamber with a girl behind the counter waited. A single blue light on the wall was covered with a translucent jellyfish-like mass of tentacles. Then through a cagelike wrought-iron grate entrance and into Bedrock itself. Rough cement floors, dark and mysterious, it looked something like a cross between a medieval torture chamber and a root cellar. Albeit a bizarre root cellar.
Hanging from the ceiling was a double-tiered chandelier lamp that looked like cockroaches slowly sliding upwards
and upon closer inspection proved to be slowly rotating dark glass ribbons (obviously, I need to get new glasses). There was a skeleton pelvis that sat on a stuffed gilt chair, wearing a single boot on one of its feet. A wrought multi-tiered pillar candle holder below a shrine-like collection of lit crosses and hanging belts. A taxidermied black buffalo head mounted on the wall. A vintage motorcycle was stopped in a corner fronting a huge cactus garden behind triangular panes of glass. Gray leather-padded changing room doors with oversized padlocks and submarine-like portal windows completed the look.
The clothes were amazing – and, for the most part, amazingly unaffordable. (No steals to be had here, I’m afraid.) The goth angle wasn’t ostentatious – but it was definitely there, and each piece was darkly fabulous and fascinating at the same time. I found a Rick Owens gray $1300 jacket, though (not the Autumn ’09 one with the winglike protrusions on the elbows, but a similar cut), and a one-of-a-kind gown for $8000 in a rich purple silk, covered with scraps of lace and hand-sewn sequins.
A black silk dress with black gemstones sewn onto the lacy collar to make scorpions.
A button-down shirt with pewter skulls for buttons.
A beige corset dripping with tatters of lace, knitted streamers, and fabric straps down to the knees.
Bracelets made out of snake vertebrae in a display case.
Platform shoes with heels made out of curlicued wrought iron (perhaps salvaged from a vintage gate?).
Even LGB-branded angora-blend see-thru rib tankdresses (plain, no adornment) were $80. I could also afford an $80 knitted mushroom-shaped black beret (again, nothing unusual or special about it).
A black bag made from an entire baby alligator (minus the tail and legs) the head flopped over the center and serving as the clasp. (PETA would have a field day here, between the buffalo head, fur rugs, and alligator bag, which was, albeit, more than slightly repulsive.)
Chain mail kerchief-shaped necklaces studded with bronze crosses (I’ve seen them in an editorial somewhere but forget the designer).
I couldn’t find the one-armed jacket Jane walked away with, or the beautiful wing-print long tank dress from their website above, but I’m sure either one would be a little out of my reach. Just something to look at and sigh about!
The store is just so flippin’ fabulous you have to go if you’re here! Definitely check it out if you can!
xoxox from Tokyo