各ジャンルに精通する個性豊かなエディターたちが、GINZA SIXをぶらぶらと

Appreciating Friends: Inlaid with 90s Flavor

森下 隆太


The world is in the midst of an unprecedented 90s craze. Perhaps unprecedented is overstatement, but you must’ve seen “The 90s Look” and “Sporty 90s Mix,” and other such phrases here and there. Fashion is cyclical, it’s said, and the 90s style is one of the main trends in the current scene. The consummate 90s TV sitcom has to be Friends, which spurred a bona fide unprecedented craze. In US national TV ratings, it ranked in the top ten every year from its inaugural season in 1994 to its sendoff in 2004.

Friends is set in New York. The six main characters, three men and three women, are of an age at which they are not yet fully adults, but face the various responsibilities of adults. They struggle, in a laidback way, with love and friendship (and sometimes work). I personally think it became such a hit because you could just sit back and relax as you watched, so casual was the world it created and the temporary escape it provided from adolescent dilemma. The characters were gradually growing into adulthood; there was much to relate to, much that rang true. After Friends ended, it wasn’t until Sex and the City that the fashions presented in a TV show would so broadly capture the imagination of viewers.

At any rate, the fashions worn by the characters on Friends are just really cute. And they’re so, so in right now. Straight outta the 90s. Of course, Friends fashion looks so in partly because the entire fashion industry is pushing the marketing. It’s the result of brainwashing, but, all the same, cute is cute; I do NOT care. My introduction here is rambling on, but, today, I’ll be searching for totally trendy 90s Friends fashion at GINZA SIX.

My first stop is rag & bone on the third floor, a stalwart of New York Fashion Week. The brand began with denim. It’s great at unpretentious casual wear—urban, stylish, but unaffected. In short, it’s the rare brand that conjures a sense of effortlessness just in the wearing. When big silhouettes were all the rage, with all brands following suit, rag & bone adopted the stance of adding a touch of this, as accents, a bit of spice. That was cool.

It’s no exaggeration to say everything on the rack is really in right now. Plus, some items are reminiscent of the styles of Rachel and Monica, two of the main characters in Friends. You can’t miss with cropped cut-and-sewns and knits. Pairing a short hemmed top that almost bares your navel with high-waisted denim gets the mood right (I mean, it’s so 90s…). The blue-washed look confers an effortless air. With its svelte silhouette, this knit, which goes from vivid blue on top to stripes (37,000 yen; all prices listed before tax), conjure a robust charm.

At a glance, these pants (28,000 yen) look like distressed denim—but, they’re actually sweats(!). They use sophisticated transfer printing technology, which produces an active feel that’s perfect for right now. They look comfortable, too. Slip a manly coat on over the top, and you, too, can be Rachel.

These boot-cut jeans with hems left untrimmed (28,000 yen) evoke a rough-hewn effortlessness. In terms of 90s fashion, the casual, unpretentious slacker look is just right. Given the new normal, with comfort and relaxation the focus, this general mood is gathering momentum.

On the men’s floor next door, outerwear draws my eye. Without hesitation, I pick out the black MA-1 (75,000 yen). While its military styling and rounded silhouettes are mainstream, this features fairly tight lines and somewhat bulky shoulders, which create an invigorating impression when you try it on. I recommend this to fashionistas a step ahead already tired of big silhouettes. Creative director Marcus Wainwright is from Britain, with its long-standing tradition of tailored clothing. In this context, the brand’s hints of conservative elegance make perfect sense.

This work jacket with a collar boa (75,000 yen) is fully reversible—two A sides. The navy is great for a chic look. The crisp orange nylon suggests fun.

In the spirit of New York Fashion Week, I head next to Helmut Lang on the fourth floor. Lang originally worked as a designer in Europe but in 1997 moved his base of operations to New York (actually, right in the middle of the Friends fever). That same year, he announced a second line, Helmut Lang Jeans. This collection was incredibly cool, a mold-breaking standard of minimalist casual wear—ideas like pairing an ivory jacket with the same color baggy denim. Checking out the past looks of the collections, I wondered if this brand wasn’t the original source of the monotone style now commonplace in street wear.

Today’s Helmut Lang has a refined airiness that recalls that time. What I mean by refined here is what I mentioned earlier: chic, but not stiff. Looking around the store, as one would expect, one sees plenty of tops with short hems. When I ask the sales attendant, I’m told the brand is pushing this look this year. Layered on top of a turtleneck sweater or shirt dress, the seamless jersey camisole (15,000 yen) I picked out here can easily boost your feminine factor. For bottoms, these blue-washed jeans (54,000 yen) present an undeniable appeal.

In the men’s category, how about this eye-catching gray leather blouson (130,000)? This is the fall and winter style of Ross and Chandler, two Friends male characters. Based on my own exhaustive personal research, these characters appear in leather blouson + knit + denim more than 70% of the time. It’s not just the silhouette—the collars and pocket flaps, the cuffs, everything is a straight line, which reinforces the minimalist feel. The difficult-to-find pastel gray color also has a nice friendly feel.

Under the blouson, this knit (47,000 yen) is middle-gauge, with a mix of colorful thread on a monotone base. The middle of the sleeves feature slits—when they bend, your elbows show, a detail from yesteryear. It’s an irresistible gem of a knit with many longtime fans. The bottoms are one-wash denim (35,000 yen) with a design that recalls painter’s pants. Wear them low, and they’re even more addicting. My slacker expression here pays homage to the runway models of the 90s (…lets just leave it at that!).

Totally immersed now in 90s fashion, I’m in full-on Friends mood. Incidentally, there’s a café in Friends called Central Perk. Nearly synonymous with the show, it’s where all the characters hang out. GINZA SIX also has lot of cafés. Now, where to go for a concluding cup of Joe? The café in the show has a casual atmosphere perfect for daily occupancy. You’ll find many cafés here, too, to relax Friends-style. But since opportunity presents itself, I decide to have some fun with luxury instead. So, for a change of atmosphere, I head up to GRAND CRU CAFÉ GINZA on the 13th floor.

This café is the product of extensive knowledge and experience—over 40 years of it—of coffee hunter Yoshiaki Kawashima, aka José. His attention to detail shines in every process, from grove to Ginza, from his careful selection of coffee farms and plants to methods for roasting, storage, and packaging. The interior design of the café is incredibly chic as well. One wall is entirely covered in fine leather—vegetable tanned and soft to the touch to tame the gloss. Combined with the retro-chic chandelier, it helps create a space both luxurious and relaxing.

Although it’s open to visitors, it’s basically a members-only establishment. As at certain bars, you buy coffee beans, then have the café retain the bottle so you can use the same beans when you come the next time. You can buy a single bottle with 100 grams of roasted beans, which brews up to six cups. The bottles run from 10,000 yen to over 100,000 yen at the high end. For me, this is definitely a stretch. But it makes for good conversation, and it’s a special experience people don’t normally encounter. The café will keep your bottle up to two weeks. There’s no additional charge the next time you come—plus, you can use the salon.

I’ve been writing “bottle” here, and it’s true, the beans actually do come in bottles! The ritual begins with the opening of the specially sourced champagne bottle. The service begins with “Evangelist” Yosuke Hasegawa opening the bottle. He lets you inhale the flavor of fresh beans curling up into the air. The cork comes off with a pop like a champagne bottle, and fresh aroma fills the air. I can’t help beaming.

I select beans grown on the Rancheria farm in Colombia (10,000 yen per bottle). I’m given a special selection of genuine Typica coffee beans hard to find elsewhere. I then have these rarities ground and carefully dripped in a beautiful cup and saucer set, leaving me totally speechless.

The set is antique Old Noritake, enthralling many collectors both in Japan and overseas. I’m told they choose the cup and saucer set based on their general impression of each customer. I get golden dragons dancing on white porcelain with inlaid red and green augite stones in various places. Truly a work of art. I’m brimming with anticipation even before I bring it to my lips.

And when I do take a sip…ahhh, supreme bliss! A sweetness recalling chocolate, with trailing wisps of bitterness. From the counter at the window, you can see down to the East Ginza streets. The view makes sipping this coffee more special still. A picture taken here would make anyone look a touch affected. Without thinking, gazing into the distance, I strike a pose.

Putting the wonderful coffee aroma behind me, with more than a little reluctance, I head home. On my way out, I spy this strange container containing minimalist conceptual art by the artist Takuro Tamayama. The notes indicate it actually is titled an “art container”; eight artists and creators have created art pieces on the theme of new meetups in containers of various sizes, installed throughout GINZA SIX until February 23, 2021. How delightful to put your smartphone away and write on a note, “Meet me in front of this or that artist work at 6 pm,” in the old mode in which we met before mobile phones. As I wait, I gaze at the art filling the container.

I’ve gone on at some length here from a personal perspective. But, honestly, with so few opportunities now to dress up and head out, fashion is probably the last thing many of you are thinking about. No need to force yourself to focus on fashion. These are simply the times we live in. But the clothes are waiting. Remember those times? Entranced by fabrics, by tailoring, by silhouettes, trying on this, trying on that, while talking to the staff, talking with your friends, saying this, saying that, buying something and the moment you first put it on. Remember putting on your favorite clothes and seeing your reflection in the building glass? Remember the sudden rush of excitement?

Clothing has power. It’s no exaggeration; I truly believe it. Try immersing yourself in the power of raiment—just slip into it. How about this weekend? And, if not, then, of course, whenever you find that you can. How wonderful to look forward to a time when we can dress up once again to our hearts’ content and stroll the streets of Ginza—to see oneself in one’s favorite clothes, reflected in building glass. If that building is GINZA SIX, nothing could make me happier.

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Text: Ryuta Morishita Photos: Takanori Hayashi Edit: Yuka Okada(81)


森下 隆太

ファッション・エディター。1986年熊本県生まれ。講談社「HUgE」編集部、ハースト婦人画報社「MEN'S CLUB」編集部を経て、独立。広告、カタログ、雑誌など、さまざまなメディアで活動中。ファッションのみならず、文学、アート、映画などカルチャーをこよなく愛する。


rag & bone






2020.11.24 UP