Anyone who is a fan of Gwen Stefani has most certainly caught a glimpse, if not been
completely inundated, with Japanese Harajuku Girl style. While it has been westernized slightly, I see more and more of its influence popping up around the US. So where did this bold look and unique lifestyle get its start?
Let’s take a trip to the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan to the Harajuku Train Station. After WWII
this area was occupied by U.S. soldiers, government civilians and their families. Young Japanese locals stalked the area to learn about the new culture. The shops and markets started carrying new items and a new, vibrant hybrid culture began to thrive.
By 1958, the area was occupied by fashion designers, models and photographers. After Japan hosted the 1964 Olympics, the ‘Harajuku’ movement really began to take on a life of its own. The area surrounding the Harajuku train station became a meeting ground for teenagers and young adults to dance and show off new fashion creations and it remains a fashion mecca today.
Harajuku Styles has many variations including Goth, Lolita, Anime, Ganguro (which basically means ‘California girl style’) and Cosplay (a more costume based way of dress). The Ganguro style fascinates me the most because in traditional Japanese beauty pale skin and understated features is the norm, but the Ganguro style of Harajuku radically rebels tradition. Tanned skin, false lashes, pink lips and bleach blonde hair are celebrated.
The thing I love most about Harajuku Girl style is the makeup that goes along with
the dramatic clothing and accessories! The make up range, as well as the courage it takes to rock such bold looks, blows me away! You will see everything from true Goth looks (black lips and all), to the Lolita pin up girl style and even Sailor Moon look a-likes (FYI, that used to be my favorite cartoon as a kid). The point is to make everything over exaggerated. Similar to the French women (only as far as confidence goes), these girls have that happy-go-lucky “I don’t care about what anyone thinks” attitude that is the true star and focal point of Harajuku style. I think we could all adopt a bit of that mentality when it comes to individual style.
If you are feeling a bit adventurous and want to try a Harajuku look, I would suggest the
Goth look. Use Lipstick in vixen and smudge a layer on your eyelids (yes, lipstick on your eyes!). Next, smoke Eye Shadow in sable into it, leaving just a halo of red around the black shadow. Keep your face pale (not even a nude blush) and mix Lipstick in cabaret with Eye Shadow in eggplant and a dash of Cream Eyeliner in ebony for the perfect Goth pucker. If you want to go the Lolita route, think of over dramatic pin up style. Really arch those brows, give a strong stage-like cat eye and a bright red, glossy lip. Don’t forget to throw any charms or even toys into your hair for a little extra somthin’!