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The Streets Take over Tokyo and Seoul Fashion Week

After wrapping things up in New York, London, Milan and Paris, Fashion Week moved on to Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, where some of the most influential designers in the Asian fashion industry presented their collections for spring 2016. During fashion week, all eyes are usually on the runway.But that wasn’t the case in Seoul and Tokyo – the real show-stopping moments happened on the streets.

Tokyo Fashion Week kicked things off, and designers such as Mikio Sakabe, Yasutoshi Ezumi and Mitsuru Nishizaki showed their spring 2016 collections. The two main aesthetics on the runways were feminine-masculine minimalist tailoring combined with Japanese asymmetry and opposingly edgy and artistic looks.

The Tokyo streets, which were filled with fashionistas, fans, editors and local celebrities, showed bold, fearless, whimsical and comical styles off the runways. Channeling their love for manga and anime, people rocked bold prints, oversized and exaggerated silhouettes, mixing of textures and multicolored hair. That’s not to say the bold, comical cherry handbags, Pokémon-shaped hoodies and extreme platforms shouldn’t also be mentioned. The fashion in Tokyo was, to put it simply, fun. People tapped into joy and fantasy elements of fashion, leaving a lot of men and women looking like they came right out of a manga cartoon.

A stand out trend was statement shoes. Instead of the standard Gucci loafers, Chanel slingbacks, or Prada and Valentino pumps that most fashionistas wore during New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks, the shoe motto in Tokyo was “the crazier, the better”. Some of the standouts were a gold, unicorn-heeled, round-toe pair of pumps and embellished Dior sneakers. Platforms were another style popular among show-goers, with one woman appearing to be arriving via roller skates, but rather wearing sky-high platform boots made to look as if they were on wheels.

Travel to Seoul, and you can find local and foreign fashionistas, buyers, editors, bloggers, local celebrities and K-pop stars gathered at the Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza, where Seoul Fashion Week took place. Korean brands and designers also presented their spring 2016 collections. The runway shows had the perfect balance of streetwear and contemporary designs, featuring collections from internationally renowned designers such as Munsoo Kwon and J Koo, as well as newcomers such as Pushbutton, Ordinary People and D.Gnak. The season was mainly characterized by a specifically Korean, modern classic look.

Like in Tokyo, there was more attention around the street style than the actual runway shows. On the streets of Seoul, there were risk takers and bold statements made, but in a refined and sophisticated way.

Seoul’s most surprising street style staple during spring 2016 Fashion Week was the hanbok, a traditional Korean costume consisting of a chima, or an empire-waist skirt with billowing ball gown proportions and a jeogori, or cropped cross-collar jacket, made from sheer chiffon-like silk and tied shut with a single bow. Hanboks on the street were both given their own modern interpretation and held true to the original style. Though this traditional style fell out of favor in the past, the hanbok is back and making a major impact on the city’s fashion scene.

A major beauty trend was the shattered glass manicure, using a technique that originates from Korea. Worn by Korean models such as Irene Kim and Song Kyung Ah and K-pop stars such as Lee Hyori during Seoul Fashion Week, the trend has now gone viral. There is no need to fear, because I am not talking about glass shards on your nails, which would terrify me as well! The Korean shattered glass nails are a special effect done with stickers layered one over the other to create a textured glass effect. Another way of achieving this look is by cutting foil or holographic film into different-sized pieces with sharp-looking edges. During a gel manicure, the pieces are then applied after the top coat. A builder gel is placed on top of them in order to lock in the design. There are manicure stickers available which allow a consumer to imitate the look in a few easy steps.

Some of the boldest and most charming looks came in pint-sized proportions on kids who absolutely killed it. These youngins stole the spotlight and outshone a lot of the adults by sporting baby Dr. Martens and Chicago Bulls bombers, bold hats and statement hair pieces and aptly mixing prints. A lot of parents and kids even came in matching outfits, ranging from tweed coats and felt caps to tiny biker jackets and miniature Adidas sneakers. These kids are living proof that you can never be too old to be a fashionista and that good style truly does come at any age.

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