By  on March 28, 2007

TOKYO — Chanel will exhibit its haute couture collection and sell its handbags at Restir's latest store opening this week in a newly developed commercial district, Tokyo Midtown.

"I have been watching Restir's Ginza store and got interested in it," said Richard Collasse, president of Chanel K.K. in Japan. "Recently, there are more consumers who go to specialty stores to look for goods from luxury brands. Restir is something that attracts our future customers."

The collaboration between the French luxury label and the rapidly growing specialty store will take place when Tokyo Midtown opens in Roppongi, Tokyo. The complex has six main buildings and projects 30 million visitors and commercial sales of 30 billion yen, or $250 million at current exchange, a year. The Japanese Defense Agency once occupied the site, which was then developed by six companies, including Mitsui Real Estate, at a total cost of $3 billion.

Restir Midtown has two floors covering a total of 10,760 square feet at the main entrance of the shopping mall Galleria. "Chanel is in the highest rank in women's fashion," said Hiroaki Takashita, president and chief executive officer of Restir. "It was my long dream to sell Chanel at my store, which is now highly recognized in the market."

Like Restir's Ginza flagship, the Midtown store showcases men's and women's luxury brands and designer collections. Last year Restir signed an agreement with Balenciaga to distribute the collection in Japan.

Restir focused more on luxury and designer brands after it renovated the Ginza store in spring 2005. It sells Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Sergio Rossi, Miu Miu, Yves Saint Laurent and watches from Hermès.

The first floor of Restir Midtown will function as an exhibition space, where 11 styles from Chanel's haute couture collection will be displayed starting Friday until May 6. A 10-foot-high bag bar will be installed to show off a replica of Chanel's 2.55 line with vintage finishing, as well as some other lines from the brand's archives. Collasse declined to comment on sales projections, but said "to show Chanel's essence at Restir is what we think important."

Collasse said there has been a change in consumption patterns in Japan. "There are fewer people who buy a thing because it has a famous brand tag or because it is made in Western countries, and we want to be flexible against such a change," he said. "We never lose the identity of the Chanel brand in collaborating with a specialty store."Within an area of 741,365 square feet, the Tokyo Midtown complex has 130 tenants, including fashion retailers, interior shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as health and beauty service counters.

The 35 fashion retailers include Chloé, Harry Winston, Pleats Please Issey Miyake, Puma, Bottega Veneta, Marni, Lucien Pellat-Finet and British men's wear retailer Richard James, which is opening its first store outside London in the complex. There also are 18 interior and design shops, 27 restaurants and bars, 33 food stalls and cafes and 17 other services, such as a cooking school and bookstores, as well as offices. Suntory Museum moved to Tokyo Midtown and a Ritz- Carlton hotel will be located there.

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