We’re always looking for inspiration here at Lark and Peony, and boy, do they come to us in all forms. Travel, books, cafes, articles, ideas, nature, people - even food! We try to share the little things that inspire us on our Facebook and Instagram, but the hardest of all is telling you about the interesting people that we get to meet. There's just so much to their delightful personalities that we can't possibly fit into a Facebook share or an Instagram picture.
With that, we’d like to introduce our new blog segment, Lark and Peony Interviews, where we have a chat with the women that we find inspiring in their own ways.
Of course, it is only fitting that we kick off our brand new segment with the very fascinating lady behind Lark and Peony, Junie.
Hi Junie! Where are you now, and what do you do?
I currently live in Tokyo and I am the designer and creative director for Lark and Peony
Give us a peek into your life in Tokyo – what is a typical day like for you?
I’m usually up at 7am to feed and walk my furball Toby.
I also try to get a workout in and when I do (ack, rarely!), I treat myself to a morning at the little sento or communal bath house on the top floor of my apartment open only to residents.
I spend the afternoons designing or wandering the streets of Tokyo looking for inspiration. I visit art museums and spend some afternoons in parks just soaking in the vibe of this amazing city.
Most days, I try to lunch out because lunch in Tokyo is always a good deal compared to dinner. At lunch you get to try the best of what the restaurant has to offer and even at a two–star Michelin star restaurant like L'atelier de Joel Robuchon which has sweet lunch deals from 1950yen.
Tell us about some of your favourite neighborhoods in Tokyo.
Three of my fav neighborhoods and yes, it’s off the beaten track:
Shimokitazawa – The town is a quirky mix of cafes, vintage thrift shops, toy stores, bars, live music houses, and theatres. I especially love the cafes and the vibe there. The neighbourhood looks and feels like a giant toy box!
Koenji – Koenji is rather similar to Shimokitazawa because they have the same assortment of shops and are both really creative and inspirational towns, though Koenji is slightly more serene because there are also quite a few temples and shrines in the area.
Shin Okubo (Korea town) – Ethnic towns are always interesting because you get to see how much the food and music has been carried over, and they feel like a completely different part of Japan. The Kpop culture is really strong there of course, though I usually just pop into the Korean restaurants and supermarkets which stock a crazy array. Korea Town is also really close to where I live so the Korean grocery stores are definitely a plus.
Describe your style in 3 words:
Modern x Vintage Mashup
How do you usually pick your outfits?
Weather appropriate outfits are a must especially in Tokyo. In Winter, you really have to dress sensibly because some days where you might spend the whole day out and there’s appointment after appointment and no time to head home to grab an extra jumper.
I love accessorizing and make up is a must especially in Tokyo where you feel the pressure not to look like you just crawled out of bed. I appreciate it though, it’s so pleasant to see a woman dressed thoughtfully because it shows that she cares for herself enough to make the effort.
How did you get started in the fashion industry?
My mom (Aunty Janet) used to run her own fashion business back in the day. She had a wicked sense of style but life got in the way. She had kids, got busy and had to roll with life’s punches. I was inspired by her sense of style and strength. So I created something that encapsulated elements that we both were passionate about.
Describe your designing process:
I start with the cut of the dress, we get so many different requests and so we try to respond to them one at a time. Then fabric follows and we try out different accents on the dress so see which works best. We then get a sample done and when it fits well and looks fab, we go into production.
We hear you’re quite the adrenaline junkie. Tell us about some of the heart-stopping moments in your life.
Last winter, we were in Hokkaido and we went off-piste snowboarding. Usually, we take a chairlift and ride through the trees but this time, my companions decided that we should hike to higher part of the mountain where the snow was untouched. The drop was maybe 3-4 meters but I felt like my heart was going to pop out of my chest because for a few seconds it felt like free-falling with a snowboard strapped to your feet! Sad part is that my husband didn't think I was going to actually do it so he confidently told our friend who asked him why he wasn't filming my drop, " Nah, she's won't do it, Junie's too sensible for that!" No pictures means no proof right? All I have is this video:
What is your one guilty indulgence?
Yakiniku. Grilled beef over a charcoal stove. I could have that for dinner EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.
And how do you try to balance it out?
I drink this special black Oolong tea which is supposed to cut out the fat in whatever you consume. It worked when I spent last Summer in New York and had steak for dinner every other night. I barely put on weight! So Oolong tea and exercise of course! Yes, I packed 8 x 1.5L bottles in my nearly empty suitcase!
What are some of the best experiences you’ve had in Japan? Food, service, shopping, nature, anything!
Climbing Mount Fuji last Summer was such a huge highlight for me. It felt humbling because you realize how tiny you are compared to all these marvels of nature. Pro-tip: Don’t wear crazy coloured jackets. I wore a yellow jacket and there’s very little flowers that grow on Fuji. It gets rocky at the top and the bees get desperate so they kept buzzing around me (biggest flower on Fujisan)
Food would be a huge plus living in Japan. Fine dining here is amazing because you don’t have to pay as much as you do elsewhere in the world for similar quality. Tokyo has the highest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants outside of France.
Service is world class. Even when you’re buying an onigiri (humble rice ball), you still get the best service. And don’t get me started with luxury goods, I’ve seen the staff at Louis Vuitton load up a customer’s car with their bags and bow for the longest time as the car drove away and did not rise till it was out of sight.
Packing up and moving your entire life to another country must have been incredible, but it probably also left you teary-eyed at some point. What are some things you miss most about Singapore?
I miss family and friends the most. I love my Japanese friends but some of my good friends are scattered all around the world and no one gets me like my Singaporean friends, the jokes, our common love for local Singaporean food and just catching up and swopping stories.
I travel back to Singapore often so it’s not too bad. I always have a luggage full of prepackaged sauces and food when I get back to Tokyo. Traveling is so easy these days and I'm used to long flights. Slap on your favourite face mask, catch some Zzzs and wake up in a new city!
Say hello to Junie on her Facebook page and Instagram @hellojujubee.