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Hair Bows, Eyeballs, And More: A Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Style Primer

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is releasing her first all-English single and, believe it or not, it debuted on vogue.com this morning. Kyary is a tour de force in her native Japan, where she’s released three number-one albums, has a huge social media presence, and is a spokeswoman for major products. Given her history with fashion and her highly enviable style, Vogue actually makes perfect sense for the release. Let us get you up to speed on Kyary’s style—we’re definitely going to be seeing a lot more of her very soon.

Kyary started as a fashion blogger (oh haiii) before modeling for Harajuku fashion magazines like Kera! and Zipper. This led to an opportunity to collaborate with the Eyemazing company on a line of false eyelashes called “Harajuku Doll.” Her first single, “PonPonPon,” was released in 2011, has become a signature song for the artist and has since accrued over 67 million views. Since then she’s released a slew of videos, each one just a little bit kooky and brimming with her signature brand of “traumatic cuteness.” She’s even been named the Official Kawaii Ambassador of Harajuku by the mayor of Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward.

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But what is her style? And how do you accomplish it? According to Kyary:


“New Kawaii” for me [is] a cuteness that is a little bit traumatic, that has a dark aspect to it, and I try to keep this in mind. So within cuteness for me, I like to have grotesque elements like eyeballs, or other items that are surprising to see.

“PonPonPon” features skulls, worms, and candy canes while “Mottai Night Land” has ghosts wearing bikinis. When pressed further about her status as a fashion icon, and what that ultimately means to her and her fans, she responded with:


Fundamentally, I want people to wear what they want to wear. In my song “Fashion Monster” there is the lyric, “I don’t want to be bound by anyone else’s rules.” I think that sums up what I would like to say to listeners. If you are wearing clothes that you enjoy wearing, everything you do in life becomes fun.

This boils down to an easily followable formula:

Dressing thematically for the occasion is not only appropriate but fun.

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For “Furisodation,” Kyary not only had dressed up in red and white (an auspicious color combo in Japan) for her “Coming of Age” Day party, but encouraged others to do so as well.

Hair accessories are often a fun way to elevate your look.

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Kyary usually has hair bows, headbands, and sometimes bat wings in her hair.

Try to incorporate something spooky into your wardrobe.

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Make like the Harajuku Pop Princess, and work any of the following into your outfit: eyeballs, bats, black and white stripes, crinoline underskirts and platform shoes.

Lastly, rules are meant to be broken.

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As our girl puts it: “Freedom in fashion for everyone. Anyone can wear anything in their own style and fashion.”

Hear, hear, Kyary! I’ll be watching your videos all day on repeat, if you need me.