Costume changes made easy in Harajuku

August 5th, 2010 by Felicity Hughes

Wikicommons image courtesy of Nicholas Wang

Dai-henshin! COS-Pa powder rooms come to the rescue of damsels needing a quick change.

Ever wondered how those Harajuku chicks manage to transform themselves from ordinary high school girls into extravagant Gothic Lolita princesses? Part of the secret lies in those little suitcases they trundle around with them which store all the make-up and frou frou outfits necessary to expedite a full henshin. Traditionally these costume changes take place in the rather limited and pongy spaces of train stations or department store bathrooms, but just last week a far sweeter-smelling option become available for those girls in the know.

Just at the bottom of trendy Takeshita Dori is a changing space that can be rented for as little as ¥200 for 30 minutes where girls can titivate themselves to their hearts’ content. The basic package gives them a booth in a room that fits eight people, but for those prepared to pay more, it’s possible to hire a private room that they can share with a group of friends. The rooms come equipped with irons for smoothing out the creases of frilly Bo Peep dresses and straightening irons and curlers for creating the perfect coiffure.

COS-Pa Mini powder rooms are located on the second floor of the newly opened URATAKE Girl’s Style complex, which opened on July 31. It also houses lockers where girls can stash their school uniforms and, best of all, banks of Print Club sticker machines for taking snaps of the new transformations.

This isn’t the first COS-Pa powder room. The company debuted its first shop in March 2008 in Shibuya. The Shibuya branch is slightly more lavish and caters to an older clientele of women in their 20s to 40s who are looking for somewhere to chill out and change out of their office gear before a night out on the tiles.

In a city that’s packed to the gills, the concept of renting a little square of privacy, be it in an Internet café booth or a karoke box, has long been popular, so there’s no doubt that ventures such as COS-Pa are likely to prosper in the future.

Photo taken by Nicholas Wang

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