Vogue Japan: The Girl Who Rocks The Planet

Posted on March 12, 2012

Trash couture seems to having a moment in the various international editions of Vogue. Here’s hoping this version goes over a little better than the Vogue Italia one from the other day.

Either way, we’re not loving these editorials. We suppose you could look at them as fun and gloriously tacky, but in the end, it feels like certain people are being made fun of and besides, all that visual noise just makes everything look a little ugly. It’s “People of Walmart” in the pages of Vogue and we sincerely hope this isn’t a trend. We like fashion better when it’s aspirational, not when it seems to be making fun of people.
Editorial from the April 2012 issue of Vogue Japan starring model Aline Weber photographed by Giampaolo Sgura and styled by Anna Dello Russo.

[Phot Credit: Giampaolo Sgura for Vogue Japan via thefashionspot.com]

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1043171034 Tadiana Walton Jones

    Not nearly as tacky or offensive as Vogue Italia, which is by definition damning with faint praise.  I get a Lady Gaga Wannabe Goes Shopping and Out On the Town kind of vibe from it.

    • buildmeatower

       I’m getting a Gaga vibe from it too, though I actually kind of like it for that reason. Definitely better than the other one.

      • JosephLamour

        This is actually pretty fantastic. I have a lengthy, lengthy article about the other one being published tomorrow because I literally couldn’t stop finding things wrong with it. This just seems like a “fabulous girls in everyday places” shoot.

        Also, I want to learn drag, perform, and get on RuPauls drag race simply to wear that lion dress. I love it to pieces.

        • Mirna Zgrabljić

          Couldn’t agree more! This editorial is so amazing. I’m def getting miss Gaga from it, which for me is a good thing. And I would kill for that lion outfit. And all of the sunglasses. And the cream/teal gold embellished dress. And the shoes, oh dear god the shoes are delicious. And is that a disco ball helmet?

    • saanrio

       Same here, that was my first thought, honestly… Lady Gaga slumming with the anime geeks. 

      It isn’t quite as offensive as the Vogue Italia spread.  I can more clearly see where they are going with this, but it takes on a sort of “Fashion people are fabulous and you are not,” fashion-snob kind of attitude.  I think, honestly though, if I knew nothing about the Japanese youth culture, this would make no sense at all.

  • crash1212

    Um. Do the shoes in panel 4, 5 and maybe 6 have…..horns? And maybe a side tooth of some kind? Unicorn shoes with teeth? It’s a trend that could go nicely with this trash/tacky trend. Not a big fan…of the shoes or the editorial.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1043171034 Tadiana Walton Jones

      I like to think they’re like the Ben Hur chariot spikes.  Get in her way and she’ll hamstring you with one swift kick.

    • http://twitter.com/delysia_lafosse Delysia LaFosse

      I don’t claim to know what the hell is up with those shoes, but the dog is sure steering clear of them, whatever they are…

  • http://twitter.com/al_ber_to Alberto Muñoz E.

    Vogue Italia’s ‘Haute Mess’ was way more over the top. This is just Anna Dello Russo dressing the model like herself.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marteani Barbara Guttman

    I kinda love this, especially that lion coat shot. One of the things I love about Japanese street fashion is the sort of fuck-you-fashion-rules-I-will-every-everything-and-I-will-wear-it-all-at-the-same-timeness!  The Haute Mess shoot seemed to be getting its rocks off not just on mocking lower-class street fashion, but the way rich people see those nasty poor folk (hanging around bathrooms,changing all their babies).  Whereas 3am in Roppongi?  This looks less “point and laugh.”

    This is also a refreshingly fun change of pace from pretty-period-set-drag with evening gowns. Which is pretty. But everywhere.

    • oh_dear_oh_dear

      Agree on everything. Also it’s just much less iffy to skim your own culture for strange than to appropriate someone else’s.

      • http://profiles.google.com/marteani Barbara Guttman

        Also true! There are some really rich fashion tribes Japanese publications can take inspiration from. (even if some of them are in and of themselves kinda…questionable)

        • CatherineRhodes

           Barbara, well said.

  • Rebecca Johnson

    The only thing I’m taking away from this editorial is GLITTERY DISCO BALL HELMET! I want!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2P2ANLRZ6YAVGONA36I2AQJYGI VicD

    It’s bizarre, and the clothes (and shoes) are all but unwearable, but at least it doesn’t make me want to throw up like the Vogue Italia one did.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2P2ANLRZ6YAVGONA36I2AQJYGI VicD

      Seems like the stylists over at Vogue Korea might need to show them how it should be done…
      Oh, and, still loving that Prada bag!

  • SewingSiren

    Not my favorite. I think Details and maybe Paper magazine used to do shoots like this back in the late 80’s or early 90’s.

  • http://profiles.google.com/phyllis.craine Phyllis Craine

    Post-Apocalyptic due to the Tsunami and nuclear crisis

  • http://wipgirl.wordpress.com/ kristel

    This wasn’t half so bad as the Vogue Italia one, but I really can’t stand that model’s mouth. They could have photoshopped that same two-front-teeth pout from one photo to the next and no one would have noticed. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1043171034 Tadiana Walton Jones

      Ew, you’re right.  You’ve ruined what little appeal this editorial had for me.

  • Sara__B

    Styled by Anna Dello Russo. Her personal style is almost this odd.

    • Carly Hirano

       Very true!  I could definitely see her in many of these outfits.

  • http://twitter.com/MandySCG MandyJane

    Definitely better than Vogue Italia, I couldn’t stand to look at that one.

  • http://www.thirteen.org/downton-abbey/category/the-downton-dish/ Gotham Tomato

    I think these are more freaky than tacky, and freakiness is ingrained in the Japanese culture.


  • howdoilook

    No six-inch toenails, so it’s a serious upgrade from Italia.

    • turtleemily

       Eeew – I’m glad I didn’t notice those.

      • TheDivineMissAnn

        They were hiddy.

        • turtleemily

           I almost want to go back and look, but I know I’ll regret it.

  • LesYeuxHiboux

    I don’t know. I like this version better than Vogue Italia’s because to me it reads more like “glamazon socialite from Mars vacationing in Tokyo” than “trailer trash won the lottery and went shopping, HAW HAW!”. I actually kind of love the photo with the lion-head shrug and disco dress.

    • luciaphile

      I like it better than the Vogue Italia one too, but that’s not saying much.

      • LesYeuxHiboux

         Fair point, it’s entirely possible that I would hate this if I hadn’t seen the horrible Vogue Italia shoot first.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1326120071 Gaby Ripoll

    I thought the Vogue Italia HSN style editorial was funny, but that’s me. Y’all should post that one too!

  • SpcilK

    I kinda dig it! Eventhough it’s over the top, the fashion has more of a presence in this editoral. I’m having fun with this spread instead of the seizures I got from the Vogue Italia one.

  • janetjb



    I’m not going to buy any of these clothes now that I’ve seen them here….I just don’t have the mad skills to pull them off (or the dollars of course).

  • lonepear

    It would be kind of hilarious if Gaga actually wore one of these ensembles as-is.

    I don’t feel too bad about this spread. Vogue Italia was poking fun at people who are not rich and powerful or represented well in the media. Parodying Lady Gaga, who is one of the most visible people on the planet and pretty deliberate about dressing in elaborate high-fashion ensembles that make people talk about them, feels like something different entirely.

    • http://tigergray.blogspot.com/ Tiger Gray

      That was the most uncomfortable part, I think, that it was this big fashion business icon coming in with scads of money to dress people up that way and to–it seemed–make fun of them, and make fun of things like child care in a diner bathroom. Like, if it had been done BY people of a similar socioeconomic class as what was being shown, the argument could have been better made that it was appropriately tongue in cheek. In this case it seems more like they’re lampooning the rich, the famous, and the trendy, which can bear a whole lot more mockery than people who already don’t have a lot of power. Especially the Hello Kitty accessories make that point for me. (also I love the laptop) 

  • filmcricket

    Why is it all just one blonde, Caucasian woman in a Vogue Japan spread? This makes no sense to me.

    I don’t want any of the clothes (the disco ball helmet and the laptop cover are pretty cool, though). That said, this doesn’t offend the senses as much as the Vogue Italia spread did.

    • http://www.facebook.com/vsticker Vera E Sticker

       Because like 90% of the editorials out here are Caucasian models. Japan has a weird relationship with white people.

      • Carly Hirano

         So true.  Maybe not as much as 90%, but definitely a large amount.  When I was worked as a model there I was asked to dye my hair blonde (I’m a redhead) in order to get more jobs because I was told redheads don’t sell.  It’s an aspirational thing, I suppose: a true representation of the “Other.”

  • Aly Light

    This one hands-down showcases the clothes to better effect than the Vogue Italia spread.

  • turtleemily

    The dogs are cute and look like they don’t want to be there.

  • allj

    Yeah, this one is a lot less mean than the Italian one. I think this one is a lot more about party girl doing walk of shame, which isn’t necessarily a hostile portraiture.

  • NurseEllen

    I love the laptop cover in the 4th photo.  Other than that, this is just too much for me.

  • http://twitter.com/somuchhotter Ethan Barclay-Ennew

    I kind of love it…..

  • MilaXX

    I can’t…
    Make it stop.

  • http://profiles.google.com/alison.sigman Alison Sigman

    I feel like I’m watching an episode of Jerseylicious. It’s tacky but they’re selling it. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/alison.sigman Alison Sigman

    I feel like I’m watching an episode of Jerseylicious. It’s tacky but they’re selling it. 

  • http://joyouslifesf.wordpress.com Kiltdntiltd

    Wow.  The words nihilistic, vulgar, grotesque, debasing, and tasteless all spring to mind.  There seems to be an implied revulsion of women, and a similar revulsion for the clothes themselves.  That’s a wacky notion in a fashion editorial. Why make people actually repelled by the sight of women in the clothes you are promoting?

  • http://vhanna26.typepad.com Vera

    “We like fashion better when it’s aspirational, not when it seems to be making fun of people.” So do I (and what a great quote) but I don’t find this photo shoot to be so cruel. In fact, I find of dig it.  I’m a sucker for Hello Kitty and glitter.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LI35AZLWSZEYRDZ4PUCBHUCZUI Jonathan

    I guess i have a different take i think its kind of inspiring. the takeaway i get from the whole editorial is kind of a money cant buy you class vibe. If you pair lots of expensive clothing and accessories badly you are going to look cheap and tacky . I guess for me it brings to mind the fashion vs style dichotomy. These are all very of the moment looks from very well respected and expensive collections but they just look cheap and unstylish. 

  • AlieMichelle

    Apart from the awful pimp picture, these read less “people of Walmart” to me and more “crazy clothes in everyday Japanese locations.” The arcades, the drink vending machines, the maid cafes, the loaded aisles of awesome Japanese 7-11s… even some cosplayers in the background… all of it reminds me so much of my trip to Tokyo last summer.

  • Kimmu

    Never thought I would see Kaitou Kid cosplay in an issue of Vogue.

  • Carleenml

    I look at every pic and think the same two words. Heidi Klum, Heidi Klum, Heidi Klum. 

  • Sarah Thomas

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again…somewhere along the line, the Powers That Be decided Italian-Americans were one of the last ethnicities it was still cool to make fun of in public. 

    • boweryboy

      Jersey Shore ’nuff said.

    • http://www.facebook.com/vsticker Vera E Sticker

      This really has nothing to do with Italian-Americans. Trust me, the average Japanese person has no idea what Italian-American culture is like (that’s not a slight on my adopted country — why should they? Half the people commenting here don’t know anything about Japanese culture). Taken generously, this is a snark on brand-obsessed Japanese girls. Seen less generously, it’s a snark on rich white Americans of any background. It reads much more “Japan does Paris Hilton drag” than anything else.

  • EmilyMullasWilson

    Bedazzled imperialism

  • aristida_girl

    I have to say I like it, I think it is irreverent and fun, but again, I am a sucker for the shiny :)

  • harleydear

    I thought Vogue Italia executed this idea with far more conceptual acuity than this editorial, which seems kind of half-assed. In this one, the background reads as noise (well put, T-Lo), whereas the Italia used the setting to re-contextualize the clothing, creating a Joshua Bell/Pearls before Breakfast effect (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html)

    • boweryboy


  • boweryboy

    I would be flattered but kind of pissed off too if I were a couture designer and they made my clothing look trashy (unless, of course, the trashiness was intentional on my part).

  • holdmewhileimnaked

    i love the lionhead jacket, if i could figure out who made it & i could afford it i can see me buy it tomorrow & wear it to vons on the weekend. to pick up my regulation eleven bottles of diet root beer, shredded carrots, five beets & the “food lovers” tomato [i think it’s called]. & crackers. i dont know whose regulation this is, actually, but i guess it is mine.

    as per todays terribly expensive fauxfashion: i like the abovenoted dose a bit better than yesterday’s, this one is a bit more accomplished, a bit less put on, a bit more felt. i think. plus whoever they seem to be making fun of is maybe paris hilton, etc & ect? which, you know, may be a bit old but not seriously damaging. i couldnt tell who they were making fun of yesterday, or if they were making fun of someone. other than, perhaps, themselves & the idea that they were doing something very very old they kinda sorta maybe possibly thought was very very new. kinda sorta maybe possibly.

  • fiestyfashionfem

    This and the Vogue Italia shit is freaking me out.  Why do we want to look at big, glamorous messes?  We got that crap on our news, on our tv channels, even in our back yards.  I don’t look at fashion to be grossed out and freaked out.  I wanna be carried away on the back of unicorns that poop rainbows.  Not looking at greasy, dirty, shitty, messy, crappy shit.  

    Whew. I feel a little better. 

  • lrhoff

    Oh this is offensive.  Since when is grocery shopping in Halloween costumes appropriate for an alleged high-fashion magazine?  Certainly does make me want to renew my subscription…..

  • http://tigergray.blogspot.com/ Tiger Gray

    I don’t hate it but it’s so visually dense I have a hard time making out the individual components and thereby I have a hard time forming a real opinion about this one. I think the Hello Kitty stuff is pretty cute and I like the laptop, though.

  • poggi

    Oh my god, she’s wearing Mufasa.  (Sorry I just watched the Lion King, actually it was on while I was sitting here on the computer pretending to work but really just looking at shoes)

  • Derek_anny

    I love the fact that Japanese culture is such that the girl crossing the street in the background probably wasn’t a plant, but an actual girl crossing the street.

    • holdmewhileimnaked

      i still dress like that, i’m irrepressible, nobody will ever stop me.
      but i remember when not everyone, certainly, but lots more people dressed similarly. we didnt become quite so strangely conservative & un- a culture ’til maybe the last fifteen or twenty years.

  • eight_of_nine

    I don’t think this is really on the same level as the Vogue Italia editorial.  This is more like hyperglam/tacky lady with funny eyewear does stuff that normal people do.  I like the outfits and styling, though the setting/concept is a bit odd. 

    I COVET the dress in the first image.  I feel like I’ve seen it in runway shots on this site but can’t place it… anyone?

  • tworabbitshow

    I just want to feed her a sandwich. I’m surprised she can stand up under the weight of that trophy-head jacket.

  • ccm800

    I think the VI was more the Walmart people beat down – and while I thought that was kinda fun, now that you pointed out that comparison – it is totally soured on me. Good call. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sarah-Adams/1143985903 Sarah Adams

    It’s Janice from the Muppets – especially the last picture. Except Janice gives off the vibe of being cool and occasionally insightful, if  slightly stoned, while this girl gives off the vibe of being entirely vacant. I fully expect flies to go in and out of her mouth without her noticing. 

    • TheDivineMissAnn

      THAT’S who she reminded me of!  Good call!

  • Samantha Irene

    I agree with some of the other commenters. This one doesn’t offend me. It reminds me of being out in Japan back in Dec/Jan and partying until the wee small hours – grabbing hot drinks from vending machines, and stopping at the local convenience store on the way back or out of the hotel. I wasn’t dressed quite so fabtastically – but there were some very amazing looking people out and about  and lots of girls tottering about on massive heels!

  • http://twitter.com/bunnytron2000 Jo Gian

     I don’t usually comment on her but I feel the need to defend both this and the vogue italia.  I really didn’t find either to be offensive or making fun of someone especially not this one. I think a lot of people are missing the point of this entirely. There is nothing offensive or vulgar in this shoot that I can see and I think it makes all the clothes look really fun. It gave me a street style in Tokyo vibe which if you don’t know is a big thing there and it is all pretty crazy looking (this is actually pretty tame in comparison).

  • NCDFan

    Too much glitter glue in these. Hard to see the clothes for all the noise.

  • MzzPants

    Somebody get that model a double cheeseburger, STAT!

  • TheDivineMissAnn

    Wow.  There’s a whollatta shiny goin’ on.  And even though it’s obviously faux, the lion stole (sp?) really bothers me.

  • fungstyle

    I saw the rap duo Die Antwoord in both this and the Vogue Italia one. And I dislike these for the same reasons I dislike the musicians – as TLo says, this is all just a big, flashy, trendy way of being bullies. I’d put the folks behind these editorials as a step below the folks they are attempting to jab at. Totally classless. 

  • meowing

    I blame it on the Wannabe Lady Gaga phenomenon.  Young girls, too fluid in their own true identity, want to try on different personas.  Did it myself, but that was back in the Carly Simon, Joan Baez days–and me with my short hair.  Sigh, always out of sync.

  • SapphoPoet

    I dunno–there’s so much going on that I have a hard time focusing on the clothes. 

  • AthenaJ

    Oh no, these are MUCH better than the Vogue Italia one. This just looks like a model in expensive, slightly crazy clothing, just hanging out in various places. Vogue Italia went waaaay over the top in portraying the women in its editorial in a nasty, skanky way. That one felt a lot more ‘ew, look what the unwashed masses do’ than this.

  • DominoEstella

    this didn’t hurt my eyes like the Italian editorial

  • kentiesgirl

    Agreed! I’ll take that hello kitty bedazzled tablet and be damn proud of it. Less offensive than Vogue Italia, but what isn’t less offensive than Vogue Italia?

    Hate that last shot. Have seen that dress elsewhere and it doesn’t look that god-awful when worn as a dress as opposed to a fanny pack. Yuck.

  • CatherineRhodes

    Oddly, I really like this editorial. I loathed the Italian one. LOATHED. This one is fun and clever — and you can see the clothes! What a concept. The Italian one was going for shock value and ended up being condescending.

  • granddelusion

    Those hoof shoes fascinate me. Not in a good way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=601016544 Amy J Albin

    She must really like that expression… cause she didnt change it at all the whole shoot…

  • Carey Cauthen

    I love that there’s a cosplay girl in the background of the pic with the motorcycle. That’s about the most exciting thing in this otherwise drab shoot — and no shoot with such un-drab clothes should be so drab!

  • http://profiles.google.com/valencia.lucia87 Lucía Valencia

    This is very boring when it really shouldn’t be. The pieces are gorge and THAT DISCO HELMET! OMG! *-*! But the model isn’t earning her pay and the lighting is super drab. It’s a shame. But still, better than that italian atrocity *shrug*.

  • http://twitter.com/A_SmallFry AC

    LOVE that lion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peggy-Walter/726423206 Peggy Walter

    Both are so smarmy.  “Can you believe PEOPLE, with their grocery shopping and walking and EATING?!?”

  • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

    If the point is to sell the clothes, this is a massive fail.  What an overly busy mess!

  • http://twitter.com/janejana Jane

    I had more fun identifying the video games in the arcade photos than I did looking at the clothing and model. There’s soooo much going on in the pictures that the clothes just sort of blend in, and the model is just…there. I’m not sure what they were going for, here. :X

  • http://twitter.com/lysanderpuck マシエル

    The tongue-in-cheek-ness to me (as someone who studies and has lived in Japan) comes from the fact that she is CLEARLY (from the background) in Akihabara, which is the anime, manga, and video game district. The people who hang around in Akihabara are called Akiba-kei, or as they would be called in America, nerds. But like, live-in-parents’-basement-at-age-40-doesn’t-shower-all-income-goes-to-figurines nerd. It’s hilarious to me because this model clearly thinks she looks good and in a high fashion area such as Harajuku or Shinjuku, but instead she’s basically in the world’s largest Gamestop.

  • http://twitter.com/Kikishua CMS

    I want the adorable sheep in picture 9

  • umeboshi

    this is making fun of…whom, exactly? i’m genuinely confused, because i lived in the tokyo area for years (until very recently), and never saw anyone wearing anything remotely like this (except for bedazzled hello kitty, of course). if they want to poke fun at japanese fashion, they should do a harajuku/lolita/gyaru spread. the only thing extremely japanese about this is the background.

  • geeeque

    to me the only person being made fun of here is Paris Hilton, and we should never stop making fun of her.

  • Miss_Magpie

    So here’s the thing of it, Blanche, this DOES look like a “Girl Rocking The Planet.”. And the model WERQS what she has on, every shot. And she highlights the accessories. Well done.

    Please note: written without reading comments.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SMUNDQJAGORQRDCJRNMZQPRHE4 Natalie

    Man, I gatta get me some lion sholder pads!

  • http://twitter.com/rgmx Mercy

    With a tall nordic blonde strolling around Japan in an apparent drug-fueled haze wearing sloppy couture, it appears fashion has skewered itself, rather than it’s intended target.  Try again, editors.

  • MrsBug

    This is definitely better than the ghetto-tastic one the other day. That one was….ewwww.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stevie-Lo/923283 Stevie Lo

    At least this looks like an editorial – the Vogue Italia spread looks like Ke$ha’s facebook pics.