ViVi's "Diva's Dream Festa"

04 November 2008
In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the fashion magazine throws a runway and music bash in the Tokyo Girls Collection mold
The popular young women's fashion title ViVi is all about fun. The models stick out their tongues in every other picture. The styling makes the cutting-edge of designer wear look exciting and accessible.

ViVi's participatory and convivial attitude towards fashion just begs for a big tie-up party for everyone to congregate and let loose. In the past, readers and models came together for a yearly ViVi Night, but this year sees the very first Diva's Dream Festa (DDF) — held on October 31 at Yoyogi National Stadium in celebration of the magazine's 25th Anniversary. Borrowing the format of other "real clothes" fashion events Tokyo Girls Collection and Kobe Collection, DDF offered 7,000+ fans runway shows of nine brands modeled by its crack team of (mostly half-Japanese) girls, as well as performances from four musical artists. Perennial "foreign talent" Thane Camus and adorably-dopey Suzanne acted as MCs for the night, quickly guiding the audience through the fashion, music, and special advertiser segments from Sony, Family Mart, and Nokia.

The participating brands — Egoist, one spo, SmackyGlam, Rose Fan Fan, Spiral Girl, Delyle, Red Pepper, and Vixen Rose — mostly came from the "real clothes" side of the fashion spectrum, with many sold in gyaru-friendly Shibuya 109. The big star, however, was Fendi — possibly the most prestigious luxury brand to ever participate in a "real clothes" event. The LVMH brand opened the fashion portion of the show with a "special fashion stage" showing off clothes for spring/summer 2009. Lately high-end brands have appeared to be losing touch with the young female consumer base, and Fendi's show mostly likely intended to re-open a dialogue with ViVi readers. Many top brands have avoided directly marketing to young women in this way, but the recent luxury downturn in Japan may have removed some of those previous barriers. DDF's formatting, however, may have not been the best match, since the staging and models for Fendi were identical to the other runway shows, making the luxury line ultimately blend in with the "accessible" tenor of the later labels.

Fashion was hardly even the main draw. While these big events attract the most attention in the media for their reinvention of the "runway show" into a giant populist festival, the audience seemed very excited about the musical artists. The "Diva" of the event title did not just apply to the take-no-prisoners attitude of ViVi's models but also the three headline R&B-influenced female Japanese singers: AI, Thelma Aoyama, and Kumi Koda. One-time hip-hop heavyweight DJ Kaori got the hands waving in the air with a set of unexpectedly J-Pop tunes from recent artists like Perfume. Next came R&B singer AI, who brought everyone to their feet thanks to a set of big ballads. Her special guest, however, received the greatest applause of the entire night: Atsushi from hit male vocal group EXILE. The frenzy accompanying Atsushi's appearance served as a reminder that as much as "girl power" seems to drive these almost exclusively-female events, the sudden entrance of a famous male star sends the crowds into new levels of ecstasy.

Next page: Breaking down the ViVi fashion sense

Photos in Photo Gallery by Aska Goi (MEKAS.).
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