As the Contributing Arts Editor at British Vogue, curator and creative consultant Hikari Yokoyama perfectly merges the worlds of art and fashion. To celebrate her edit of her favourite pieces at Topshop right now, we discover how she styles out the festive season – from making music videos on Christmas Eve to discovering the traditional Boxing Day walk…
What’s your favourite part of Christmas?
Full disclosure, I didn’t grow up really celebrating Christmas – my mom is a Baha’i and my dad is Japanese. In Japan they celebrate with kurisumasu keiki – a white frosted layer cake with red strawberries on top! I used to feel a bit left out when all the kids would be talking about the tree and all the swag they were going to get. I had mixed feelings about Christmas because it reminded me that I was different, that I didn’t totally belong.
My mom compensated by getting us to be winter festivity experimentalists. One year I remember a blur of big, round voices singing songs in Swahili for Kwanzaa and hot-glue gunning cornucopia-like arrangements of paper gourds and apples into baskets to put on the mantle. One year we got gnomey with the Swedes. Another year we went to the Lutheran Church to pack up Christmas care boxes – tinned pineapple going plunk plunk plunk one at a time into cardboard boxes.
How do you celebrate Christmas Eve?
Christmas Eve usually involves a lot of eating, late-night giggly last-minute present wrapping and editing video into the wee hours – we’ve been doing a Christmas music video as a tradition now for the past few years. My sister is an artist and in a band. She does a lot of animation in her work, so now the annual video gets pretty elaborate. We start writing the lyrics together around Halloween, record the song in the studio beforehand, then film during the holiday period. Friends will send in cameo clips.
What does Christmas day look like for you? Do you dress up or down?
I’m now with an English man who has very hard-core traditional Christmases with all the trimmings. I’m learning how to get down with all the customs that cannot change because that’s just the way they are and will always be! We usually spend a good part of the day in pyjamas. Then it’s over the river and through the woods to granny’s house we go – changed into my finest woollens!
What’s your Boxing Day routine?
Since I’ve moved to England, Boxing Day is all about the traditional country walk. Getting wrapped up in the freezing cold, having a nip of a warming drink and a lukewarm sausage. I love seeing all the people turned out in their coats with their red cheeks, Jack Frost making the grass crispy underfoot.
What’s the biggest wish that ever came true for you on Christmas?
I’m still wishing for world peace. I eventually got the Lil Miss singing mermaid and she wasn’t that satisfying.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given someone?
The best gift I’ve ever given someone was a window. My mom had just moved into a new house and didn’t get enough light in her room. I gave her a big wide-open window and now every day she can look outside at the trees and get woken up by the sunshine and breathe in the fresh air.
What’s your wish for the future?
I wish we could focus as much on our peace of mind, our internal wellbeing as we do on our material progress and social status. Intrinsic happiness has such a delicious slow-burning glow compared to extrinsic validation.
What do you love about the Topshop pieces you’ve picked?
I love cuddly jumpers and felted berets. Velvet is the perfect fabric for a winter evening look because it’s sexy, slinky and warm – it begs to be touched, it absorbs and reflects light like the fur of a jungle cat, dappling in the flickers of candlelight. I love the tuxedo jumpsuit for something sleek and understated – you could throw it on and not have to worry about anything else.