Unexpected style inspiration: Studio Ghibli films

By Elisa, Founder and Chief Wanderer

Style inspiration can be found in unexpected places. I have always been a big fan of Japanese animes: I grew up watching Ranma ½ and Sailor Moon on French television, which undeniably shaped my aesthetics and triggered my obsession with navy pleated skirts, unnaturally long straight hair and purple-coloured eyes.

Sailor Moon

In more recent years, I have turned towards slightly more grown-up animes that immerses one in a beautiful, fantasized version of Japan, whether it’s in a buzzing, urban sushi restaurant, a family, wooden country house in the middle of green fields, a junior high school in Tokyo or a small and minimalist city flat in a high-rise building. Studio Ghibli films do exactly that, and when the BFI launched a season dedicated to the Japanese film studio, I booked myself a few tickets, very excited at the idea of watching my old favourites and discover new ones on a big screen.

Unsurprisingly, I found myself once more transported in this amazing world, but my fashion sense also found itself very much engaged. Here are my top Studio Ghibli style tips (I know, thank me later):

Hair accessories are crucial

All my favourite Studio Ghibli heroines know the importance of a signature hair accessory.Whether it’s a big red bow (Like Kiki, in Kiki's Delivery Service), an oversized hair clip (Arrietty, in the eponymous film), a single flower (Naoko, in The Wind Rises) or a good headband (like Seita, in Grave of the Fireflies), don’t underestimate the power of hair accessories. They can instantly propel you into whole new spheres of cool and will make people remember you. I suggest browsing our dedicated headband label from Paris, Adeli, for hair accessories with personality.

School girl style, re-interpreted

The school girl is always a pivotal character in most Studio Ghibli movies. She can be in junior high school, in which case she rocks a sailor-inspired uniform, or in high school, where a blazer, tie and pleated skirt will be de rigueur. Having attended a normal French school where no uniform is worn, I am positively obsessed with school uniforms. Thankfully I can indulge in my fantasy of looking like a Japanese school girl without looking silly (I am 27 years old after all) with our all new Margarin Fingers collection. The independent Korean label plays with the Japanese school uniform codes and delivers a fresh and edgy collection with a sailor navy blue dress, the perfect buckled pleated skirt and a gingham dress that wouldn’t look out of place in a cool Tokyo boarding school.


 The importance of classic silhouettes

The most memorable female Ghibli heroines always stick to a trusted silhouette that suits both their personality and body type. Arrietty's gentle curves are accentuated in a subtle way with her beautiful red skater dress with a cool high neckline. Taeko (Only Yesterday) goes for casual-cool by tucking in a loose striped top into relaxed shorts or trousers. Umi (From up on Poppy Hill) and Shizuku (Whisper of the Heart) know that layering a simple shirt underneath a sweater will add an interesting androgynous edge. Whatever works for you, make it your own and decline it across your outfits. And when you get bored with it, move on with something else.

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