The Style Master
For many people, apparel shopping is a tedious and sometimes frightening event. They cringe at the thought of it, and will do their utmost to make it as painless as possible, or avoid it completely. On the other hand, there are those who swoon at the thought of a day sifting through treasures at flea markets or marvelling at designer shops. They feel a rush of serendipitous excitement at the thought of discovering something that was “made for me.” It’s a passion, and you either have it or you don’t. It’s as simple as that… and yes, mine is indeed a deep passion for fashion.
… So when I met up with men’s fashion boutique Hanzel & Gretel owner Mario Pivko at his store in the heart of Jingumae, it was like being absorbed into another dimension of the fashion labyrinth. Pivko moved to Tokyo from New York, where he worked as a professional stylist and personal shopper in the early noughties. With his vast knowledge and understanding of the fashion industry, he continued to style and personal shop for the Tokyo elite, where he quickly became a trusted name and gained a loyal following. He learned early in his new home that options for men’s fashion were limited to either fast fashion megastores or high-end designer boutiques, with few options in between.
He soon opened Hanzel & Gretel with the motto “Your Toolbox for Success.” Inspired by timeless elegance, his two key elements in dressing are form: how the clothing is made and constructed; and function: how it performs in the real world and in everyday life. He discusses the evolution of high-end fashion to explain how his store fits into the industry:
“Once upon a time there were brands and labels known for their luxurious products. They produced goods handcrafted by artisans in the finest materials and in limited quantities. These were exclusive high-end products that were worth investing in, since they often became collectibles and family heirlooms, or items that connoisseurs dreamt of. However, there has been a change in recent years where the quality of luxury goods has changed because they are mass-produced instead of being meticulously crafted like in the old days.”
This is where his knowledge of the industry and an understanding of the fickle life of fashion come into play. He prefers to select smaller brands made by artisans who produce quality, timeless style and wearability in today’s world.
Pivko stays on top of the ever-changing fashion world by regularly visiting Europe to source men’s fashion labels. Before any item is deemed worthy for the store, it is tried on by Pivko himself. He adds, “I have to feel it, understand it, evaluate it and want it for myself.” A sentiment many veteran shoppers, including myself, understand and frequently employ as a pre-purchase check-list. Fashion and personal style is a sensory experience.
Hanzel & Gretel caters to all people, regardless of size, shape or age. It offers selections for any occasion, whether it be formal, elegant casual, business or sporty. With a perfect balance of quality, practicality, looks and comfort, Pivko will style your outfit (and wardrobe, if you so desire) to fit your personal identity and taste. Cementing his commitment to fashion standards, Hanzel & Gretel offers a personalized service for tailoring your new purchase to fit perfectly.
It’s quickly getting warmer in Tokyo and that means ditching the overworn puffa jackets and beanies, and sliding into your summer wardrobe. How is it looking? If you feel like you could use a rejuvenating lift, head over to the new flagship store of Room 306 Contemporary located in Daikanyama. Enjoy roaming the light, open-plan boutique with racks of the latest summer essentials. I highly recommend the Spell Design maxi dresses from Australia – with their boho chic appeal, these dresses go perfectly with the summer must-have straw hats from Californian label, Brixton. For the many beach days coming, they have a wonderful collection of bikini and one-piece swimwear, complemented by their broad selection of denim jeans and high-waisted shorts. The sunglasses by Quay are simply the cherry on top of this summer fashion sundae. Treat yourself to the Hipanema soap rocks that look like amethyst crystal from France, and don’t forget to check out the store’s own collection, Room 306 Contemporary, which offers a relaxed fit, yet classically stylish casual wear. Finally, make it a true summer day with a smoothie or juice in the cute 306 Contemporary cafe as you watch the world go by. You’re set for the summer with everything you need in one truly beautiful store.
From Italy with Love
As a fashion writer for Metropolis I’m constantly on the lookout, with my fashion radar on high alert, for exciting fashion stores and collections that stand out from the pack. Cinque Stelle is one of those that had me at the first glimpse. Their collection of colorful designer sneakers from Italian label Atlantic Stars is something to see, with its incredible range of hues, from classic monotone, to fluoro and even silver sequin. These sneakers will definitely be your new favorites… and who doesn’t need a stylish, yet comfortable pair of shoes to get around Tokyo? Cinque Stelle is also the stockist for Italian casual streetwear label Macchia J, Rude Concept t-shirts, and B Able denim brand. Be sure to drop by Cinque Stelle select stores and try on your favorite styles from Italy with love.
Moisture Miracle in a Bottle.
HADAURU is the skincare product range created by one of Japan’s leading beauty industry powerhouses, Matsuyama. The line is designed to be gentle and subtle, with the main focus being deep moisturization and hydration for all skin types. Simple and easy-to-use, Hadauru skincare products integrate plant and soybean-derived ingredients to rejuvenate and enrich the complexion. Rest assured: no alcohol, parabens, artificial colors and mineral oil are used in the range, which is friendly to even the most sensitive of skins. Be sure to try the lightweight and non-drying moisturizing cleansing foam, followed by moisturizing serum that provides suppleness and elasticity to the skin through the addition of five types of anti-aging ceramides. Finish with my personal favorite, the moisturizing cream, rich in shea butter. You’ll feel your skin drink the moisture and retain it throughout the day or night. There is no good excuse to not try Hadauru, with a skincare range which is naturally derived, results-based and affordable.
Available from Rakuten, Loft and the Matsuyama online shop: www.matsuyama.co.jp