TOKYO— Men on a quest for luxury footwear have three new spots to shop in this city.
John Lobb, Church's and Berluti are all opening new stores in Tokyo within a few weeks of each other, signaling a strong interest in the Japanese consumer and his penchant for pricey footwear. Just last week, Christian Louboutin unveiled a flagship here with an emphasis on men's items, providing further evidence that labels are taking this segment of the market very seriously.
After a few tough years riding out Japan's economic downturn, the country's designer men's footwear market is picking up again, said Yukino Kawabata, a research associate at the Tokyo office of Euromonitor International. Japan's men's designer footwear market is seen growing 2.4 percent this year to come in at 58.9 billion yen, or $573 million, according to Euromonitor. That represents a slowdown from the 4.7 percent growth posted in 2012, but that was coming off a low comparative base.
"Japan's high-end footwear market still presents valuable opportunities for foreign brands due to the fashion consciousness of consumers, the sheer size of the premium market, as well as the overall stability of the retail landscape," she said.
Renaud Paul-Dauphin, chief executive officer of British shoe brand John Lobb, said Japan is a very important market for the brand. Although he declined to give numbers, he said that the brand's sales have doubled in Japan over the past five or six years and account for about one-fifth of John Lobb's global sales.
"It's a very mature market; it's a market that is very strong," he said. "In fact, nowadays, Tokyo is becoming one of the main, if not the most important city for John Lobb worldwide."
The new, 1,066-square-foot John Lobb store opened on December 6 in the upscale retail, office and residential complex of Tokyo Midtown, which is also home to the Ritz Carlton hotel and is located in the neighborhood of Roppongi.
Tomooki Matsuda, president of John Lobb Japan, said the location is strategic because it will attract a different type of customer than the brand's other store in the city, which is located near Ginza in the Marunouchi district.
"We had been looking for a second store in Tokyo for some time, and there were candidates in areas such as Aoyama, but I think for men's Roppongi will continue to be a good location for a long time," Matsuda said. "A lot of people come from many places to Marunouchi, but Roppongi is more exclusive. We'll be focusing mostly on locals who live in the [surrounding] area and offering them our unique services."
John Lobb currently has 19 points of sale in Japan, and the new Tokyo store is its fifth freestanding store in the country. The company is also planning to launch an e-commerce site for Japan next year
Berluti's chief executive Antoine Arnault and artistic director Alessandro Sartori hosted a party here Tuesday night to fete the brand's new 4,306-square-foot flagship in Ginza. The store, which opened Nov. 13, provides ample space to showcase the brand's ongoing transformation from a Parisian cobbler into a men's lifestyle brand encompassing a world of bespoke footwear and tailored clothing to sportswear and leather goods. The top floor features a work area where artisans can polish shoes to customers' desired hue and patina.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)