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All Bundled Up for Winter with Zero Femininity? How to Be Amazing When You Take It Off

原千乃

GINZA SIX EDITORS Vol.92

It’s going to be a warm winter, apparently. I’ve been hearing this since autumn. Since I’m extremely sensitive to cold, I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief. And yet, it’s gotten awfully cold awfully fast recently, as the year’s end is drawing near. Every year, I’ve taken to bundling up early, with a single-minded focus on staving off the cold. As the cold sinks in, I initiate a fevered pursuit of warmth, wearing layer upon insulating layer. The end result, unfortunately, is a rather dowdy silhouette. My feminine quotient nosedives to zero. In the morning, when I look in the mirror before stepping out for work, I see dowdy in motion, and my motivation to go out frequently takes a hit. But I’ll always silently recite the following words: “I may look like this, yes, but when I take it off, I’m amazing!” In other words, when I slough off this dowdiness, you’ll see an abundant femininity hiding beneath. At least that’s what I blatantly kid myself into believing, to boost my confidence and mood—a form of self-encouragement. Obviously, it’s quite not as convincing as wearing some exquisite lace lingerie or having a hot highly moisturizing bath one morning. And so, with the first New Year of the new Reiwa era just around the corner, I decide to greet the new year as a woman who is truly convinced to be ‘amazing when she takes it off’, and head off to GINZA SIX.

Here’s an example: When you share an elevator with or pass a woman on the subway platform or happen to sit next to a woman at a café who, by chance, is perfumed in the most refined fragrance imaginable, don’t you reflexively think: This is no ordinary woman? No matter the person’s figure or fashion—aspects you may not even notice—there’s a clear and powerful sense of the wonderful corporeal femininity. Fragrance has enormous power. So, as my first mission, I decide to reinforce this sense, this sense of an amazing revelation of veiled femininity, through the power of perfume wafting gently into the air the moment I shed my heavy coat. Chanel produces a number of the world’s most famous perfumes. Undoubtedly they make a magic fragrance capable of accentuating the femininity I’m hiding within. Without further ado, I head to Chanel Fragrance & Beauty on the first belowground floor.

I make my way through the gorgeous Christmas display at the front of the store and, instantly, my motivation for my first mission goes through the roof. The store has all the Chanel fragrances we know and love, including Chanel N°19, an homage to Gabrielle Chanel’s birth date—August 19, 1883—and, of course, the iconic Chanel N°5, available since 1921, along with Chance and Coco Mademoiselle, which are popular with all generations. The store is full of spellbinding aromas. Even with various people trying on various perfumes and any number of fragrances swirling and intermingling, one encounters no bickering or conflict among scents. In effect, it’s an opportunity to enjoy a complex aroma that can be experienced only in that moment, the true test of a famous perfumery.

The boutique here at GINZA SIX also carries the fragrance collection, Les Exclusifs de Chanel, something sold by just 15 stores in Japan. Each fragrance in the collection embodies the creativity and elegance of Mademoiselle Chanel at different phases of her career. Each carries on the essence of scents developed by successive generations of the company’s perfumers. It’s a distinctive collection. Of these 17 fragrances, all made without compromise, I have a premonition one is meant for me, the one that will draw out the femininity cloaked within dowdy me.

But with such an array of choices, making the ideal choice suddenly feels something beyond mere mortals. As I’m thinking this, holding a blotter to my nose, I hear a voice from the blue: “What scents do you like?” What a relief! The boutique is attended by fragrance specialists, who help you choose the perfect perfume based on your preferences, hopes, and general disposition.

Ultimately, with their help, I chose BOY (photo, second from right, 200 ml, 46,000 yen; all prices listed before tax). The fragrance is named after Arthur “Boy” Capel, the legendary lover of Mademoiselle Chanel, the love of her life. The scent adds a masculine nuance to a woman’s skin; when she embraces a special person in her life, it mingles with the other’s scent and unveils another side of itself. Truly, it’s a distinctive fragrance of love. When I look closely, I see that the CHANEL logo and BOY logo are positioned closer to each other on the label than for the rest of the collection, expressing, no doubt, Mademoiselle Chanel’s love for Boy. I’m completely taken by this covert consideration and convinced a fragrance inspired by the joy of loving and being loved will boost the amazing femininity of my own living flesh.

I take in hand Boy, with a lovely ribbon around it. Before moving on to my next mission, I stop at the lipstick vending machine, which catches my eye every time I walk by. I love the whimsy of putting high-end cosmetics in a vending machine! But the color I want is sold out. I’ll just have to look forward to it the next time.

I put on this fragrance, inspired by the joy of loving and being loved, and feel empowered now to disclose myself, or to lie in wait, as I please. This is my mood as I board the elevator and head to EYESTYLE, an eyewear boutique on the fifth floor. Designed to resemble an “adult’s hobby room from the 1970s,” the stylishly appointed shop offers 500 or 600 types of eyewear from makers in Japan and abroad. Now, let me tell you why I’m here: My second mission is to choose some eyewear that looks good on me. I have a male friend who’s publicly proclaimed he loves women in glasses. “When a woman wears a pair of glasses that look good on her,” he says, “especially an adult woman, her sexiness quotient goes up 60%. It’s because the eyewear frames her black eyes and makes them look incredibly beautiful. When I see such striking eyes, I’m driven to see her eyes without her glasses. And when she reaches to take them off, she becomes sexier still…” I remember him saying all this with a distant look in his eyes. And it’s true, beautiful women in glasses have an intellectual look, but there’s an allure, too. It’s there, the “When I take it off, I’m amazing” thing. With this idea, I’m on board; let’s try some on.

For the past several years, I’ve started to have a bit of trouble making out what I’m reading. As I’d needed glasses more and more frequently just for day-to-day stuff, I decided it’s the function that matters. In brief, I’m short on experience choosing glasses that really fit my face. What to do, what to do? I’m getting flustered when behind me I feel someone’s presence; I turn around, and, oh my, a good-looking guy!

The good-looking guy here is, of course, one of the shop staff. His name is Tani-san. He ticks all the boxes for a sales attendant at an exclusive eyewear store. He wears metal-framed glasses with a lot of personality and looks very good, yet nonchalant wearing them. Listening to Tani-san’s advice, I try on glasses in various shapes and materials. Ultimately I settle on three finalists. From the top: SAINT LAURENT SL264 005 (plastic frame front, metal temples; 40,000 yen); OLIVER PEOPLES STILES MSYC (plastic frame front, metal temples; 33,000 yen); GUCCI GG0611OK 001 (metal frame front, plastic temples; 47,000 yen).

Tani-san, with his expert eye, has made such good choices I don’t know which to choose. I try on each several times. Finally, I get carried away and ask: “Which ones make me look most beautiful and alluring?” This leaves him at a loss for words. I take this opportunity to apologize to him for this. Sorry, Tani-san!

I ended up settling on the new version of the classic black Guccis. I went back and forth with the classic greige version, but store manager Otsuka-san joined in. “When people with large, black eyes like you wear thin, black frames, it brings out the subtle intellectualism and sexiness adult women have.” And, with that, my mind is made up. The store here has a policy of adjusting the eyewear you choose with extreme care to make them look their very best on you. Today, too, they make repeated painstaking adjustments to my glasses. Incidentally, according to Otsuka-san, eyeglasses are most feminine and alluring when your lower eyelids come to the middle part of the frame. So, of course, I have them adjusted to those exact specifications.

After the initial adjustments, I put my glasses on. Yes, they’re great! I always wear my glasses somewhat forward on my nose—maybe not quite falling off my nose, like the man in the Momoya commercial, but forward. So I was surprised: should they really ride this high? Almost immediately, then, I realize wearing them this way does in fact accentuate my black eyes, and I feel more alluring and sexy, as well. You have to hand it to the pros. Their advice is spot on. I’ve acquired the eyewear of a beautiful, alluring woman and feel I’ve taken yet another step forward in my quest to be amazing unveiled. On to my next mission!

With perfume and eyewear, I’m well on my way to feeling amazing when I take it off. My third mission, finally, is to improve the actual feel of my skin. Due to the cold, dry air and because I think—completely unbecoming of a beauty editor—“Well, since you don’t exactly show much skin in winter anyway, what does it matter?” I neglect daily care. My shabby frame is dry, coarse, and bumpy. I need to transform this into top-flight, supple, moisturized skin, so I head to Clarins Skin Spa on the first belowground floor.

Clarins is a day spa of long standing, first established with the opening of Institut Clarins in Paris in 1954. It relies on a proprietary massage method, called Clarins Touch, applied entirely by the masseuse’s hands, along with plant-derived ingredients, to burnish the skin and spirits of women the world over. My hopes are high now for a body that’s moist and supple that will allow me to present myself, entirely as I am, at any time. The treatment course begins with counseling from Naito-san, a veteran beauty therapist of 13 years. Naito-san hears me out while peering into my eyes. Her warm, gentle smile prompts me to confess, all of a sudden: “When I crawl into bed at night, maybe because my skin is so dry, my shins get extremely itchy. I scratch and scratch. It leaves marks.” Blurting this out leaves me feeling embarrassed, but Naito-san merely smiles. “Leave it to me,” she says. Yes! Perfect! I’ll leave it all up to you.

To transform skin so dry it itches into a suitably moist and supple feminine envelope, Naito-san chooses a menu of Body Silhouette (60 minutes, 17,000 yen), a massage treatment that relies on ample plant-based oils to moisturize and firm the skin, with the added option of Body Renew (30 minutes, 11,000 yen), which thoroughly removes dried and hardened keratin. The treatment begins with a scrub to gently remove dry horny keratin. It removes keratin from every part of my body, from my back to my legs, abdomen, and décolleté. This is followed by a shower, after which my oil massage begins. Thanks to the keratin therapy, my body swiftly absorbs the oil—quite interesting! Naito-san says, with what appears to be wry smile, “Now you’re set to soak up all the oil you need.” Not too strong, not too weak, just the right amount of pressure from the hands—this is just how it should feel, I think. The touch of Naito-san’s hands feels so good, I doze off in the second half; I don’t really remember it, but when I wake up and touch the skin around my thighs, it seems to fit perfectly into my hands—truly the ultimate moist suppleness I was after. Of course, my entire body had this firm, supple feel. Without thinking, I found myself touching my skin here and there. Mission 3 ends in success.

Incidentally, the products used in my treatment are, from right, Exfoliating Body Scrub For Smooth Skin (200 g, 5,500 yen); Tonic Treatment Oil (100 ml, 7,400 yen); and Extra-Firming Body Cream (200 g, 8,500 yen). All the products can be purchased at the Clarins boutique, also on the first belowground floor. It may not quite meet the standards of a therapist’s massage, but home care using products with rigorously selected plant-based ingredients can help this moist and supple feel last that much longer.

With these three missions complete, “When I take it off, I’m amazing!” now includes amazingly moist and supple skin. This leaves just one more mission, my last. To prolong the varieties of amazing I’ve acquired here today at GINZA SIX, I need care on the inside as well. As you get older, the way you feel has a remarkable and direct impact on the condition of your skin. It would be beyond disappointing if the final rush of work I expect at the end of the year led to dispiriting fatigue, undoing all the invaluable amazings I’ve acquired here and leaving me back where I started. To avoid such a catastrophe, one thing I can do is to eat a ton of fermented foods, which help boost immunity and provide antioxidant effects. I go to Sennenkoujiya on the second belowground floor, which stocks a wide-ranging rigorously selected lineup of food products featuring fermentation from Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture.

Last month, I went to the house of a chef to do an interview and was treated to homemade amazake, a fermented rice (nama-koji) drink. The chef made the nama-koji fermented in a rice cooker, I was told. Not only was it delicious, drinking it conferred a pleasing sense of energy and fleetness. I resolved to make it myself for a reliable daily boost. So, today, I wonder if they have nama-koji to make the drink. I’m looking, looking… and there it is! They have a ton of it! This is a special nama-koji from the noted brewery of the Hakkaisan sake. The name, too, lets you know it: Hakkaisan no Kuradashi Nama-koji (700 yen). Along with making amazake, it can be used for salted koji, soy sauce koji, and miso.

I put the nama-koji in my shopping cart and turn to check out, when—hey, there are rows and rows of original sauces, soy sauces, and other condiments and seasonings here, all with koji, and they’re calling my name! There’s too much here to pique one’s interest. What to bring home?

I’m at a loss, so the proprietor grants me a special opportunity to taste some of the products that tempt me. From the right are Koji no Shoyu (200 ml, 600 yen), Koji Ponzu Shirogoma (200 ml, 600 yen), and Kakerudashi Kojidare (200 ml, 600 yen). Perhaps because of the mellowness of koji, the flavor is gentle and soothing, as if you could simply drink it down.

As well as nama-koji, I buy an original sauce and soy sauce, one bottle each, and my inner care shopping is complete. I’ve been so busy lately that my meals have become haphazard—I’ve hardly cooked for myself. Now that I have these top-of-the-line fermented seasonings, I’ll start cooking at home again to detox my body because, I must say, even if it’s winter and cold and I’m always bundling up, “When I take it off, I’m amazing!” Feeling the warmth of positivity, I make my way home.

Text: Chino Hara Photos: Yuka Fujisawa Edit: Yuka Okada(edit81)

editors_hara

原千乃

经过若干的女性杂志编辑,作为工作的四十几岁的女性杂志"玛丽苏尔"的美·编辑现在负责美容文章。用杂志,正连载美容专栏"骄傲美容"。

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CHANEL FRAGRANCE&BEAUTY

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EYESTYLE

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CLARINS SKIN SPA

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银座 千年KOUJIYA

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2019.12.18 UP