By  on October 18, 2011

NEW YORK — Japanese brand Moussy has been using novel ways to attract attention, from Fashion’s Night Out — when a model brigade dressed in the brand’s signature rock ’n’ roll-inspired looks — to its 3,200-square-foot “experiential store,” which bowed Friday at 72 Gansevoort Street here.

Moussy is trying to connect with influencers in Manhattan, said Mizuho Oka, a self-described Moussy girl, who is spearheading the brand’s expansion in the U.S. Dressed in denim shorts, a leopard-print cardigan worn as a top and purple platform booties, Oka explained that Moussy grew out of and led a movement in Japan called The Real Clothes Movement. It represents a shift away from European luxury brands to more affordable domestic labels. Moussy, Cecil McBee and Apuweiser-Riche have been at the forefront of Real Clothes. “We saw a niche in the market that everybody wanted, but didn’t exist,” Oka said.

The store targets women ages 18 to 25. Denim is a core product for Moussy in skinny fits, Oka said. Selvage jeans, which are made in Japan, are priced at $200; jeans made in China are $130 to $150. Military jackets are also standard fare, such as the N3B anorak, which is updated each year. A braided rabbit vest with a raccoon fur collar, $330, is new for fall. There’s also a goat skin motorcycle jacket, $430, and one in imitation leather for $140. Other offerings include distressed T-shirts with retro screen prints, chunky silver jewelry and shoes, about 30 styles each season. The store closely resembles those in Japan, except for the special scent that wafts through each unit in its home country. Oka said the company has yet to bring the scent-diffusing machines to New York.

Moussy operates 45 stores in Japan, six units in China, three in Hong Kong and five in Taiwan.

The brand hopes to gain a following here by hosting “Moussy Thursdays” at the store, parties that feature live entertainment. On Thursday, punk dance duo Matt and Kim performed for a crowd of more than 350, Oka said.

The store was created for maximum flexibility with all fixtures connected to the ceiling by rope pulleys. When the store switches over to Moussy Thursday mode, the fixtures are hoisted to the ceiling and a stage is planted on the floor.

“Launching in New York has always been our dream,” said Hiroyuki Murai, chairman and chief executive officer of Baroque, Moussy’s parent. “Our international expansion has been focusing on Asia so far, but with 10 years of experience as a popular, respected and highly recognized brand in Asia, we believe we are ready for New York. We think Fifth Avenue is [like] the Ginza in Japan, and the Meatpacking District is [like] Shibuya, where we started our brand, which is the cultural [place] for the young fashionable people and that’s why we wanted to start there.”

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